4 Books You Want to Read


Toward the end of last year and the beginning of this, I’ve read some books that I highly recommend. You might want to check out these books yourself… for the love of puppies, special needs children, human life, and your soul!

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If you read this book, you will know….Miranda Gargasz has a heart for all living things, but especially the at-risk doggies!

I purchased a copy of this book as soon as it came out! My children thumbed through to see all the cute dog pictures, but then I finally got the book back, and I found a wealth of information inside. Author Miranda Gargasz did a ton of research!

She provides the sad statistics about the numbers of dogs that enter animal shelters every year, and the numbers that never make it out. She explains what goes on behind the scenes in dog kennels and gives examples of the incredible efforts of the Lorain County Dog Kennel (LCDK) workers and volunteers. This book includes several heart-wrenching and heartwarming interviews of these workers and volunteers.

It also spotlights specific LCDK dogs that have been through great difficulties–abandonment, abuse, neglect, accidents–but have been given a second chance. Miranda tells the stories of her own two dogs (both from LCDK), the trials and victories, and the treasure her family has found in them.

And Miranda also provides concrete advice and ways you can help. This book is valuable for its content, but you might also want to get your copy to help the dogs. MORE THAN A VILLAGE: making a difference in the lives of homeless pets—all the proceeds go to the Lorain County Dog Kennel!

9781910806074 (002)I finally read the first book in the I AM MARGARET series! I read all the other books in the series already. Don’t ask me how I ended up reading the first book last.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this book and all the books in the series and will definitely re-read them. Turner presents a dark futuristic society where not all people are considered equal. Those with imperfections, no matter how insignificant, are kept around only so that they can provide “parts” for other people.

Filled with moments of pain, compassion, courage, and hope, this story is tense and fast-paced with twists and surprises, but more-importantly it is thought provoking. The Catholic perspective gives even more depth to this dystopian (compared to other popular dystopians). It really delves into the meaning and value of all human life, regardless of a person’s ability to contribute to society.

Note to parents: this book contains violence, gore, rough language, and sexual innuendos (no sex or anything like that—it’s a very clean book). It is suitable for mature teens and adults, and is sure to deepen a person’s faith, perseverance, and admiration of the martyrs. Check out I AM MARGARET! Great reading material for the #MarchForLife bus trip!

Brothers Final (002)

START HERE! With BROTHERS: A Prequel Novella 

This novella is a great introduction to the I AM MARGARET series, or consider it a bonus for those who have already read the series.

Corinna truly knows how to create solid characters, a sense of urgency, and a well-developed dystopian world. In this story, I enjoyed meeting a new character and following one that I got to know through the I AM MARGARET series. I love how Catholic elements are weaved into the plot because any true change in a person or society must affect not only the physical but the spiritual, the complete person. This story rings with beautiful messages of faith, forgiveness, and trust, and powerfully demonstrates that we, as members of the Body of Christ, belong to one spiritual family.


I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this children’s story, REBECCA & HEART, as much as I did. But I must confess this story really touched my heart, and I would love for everyone to read it. Rebecca, the main character, has autism. We also have a son with autism, and he is such a treasure to us. While most children with autism struggle with social interactions and are overwhelmed with sensory input of one kind or another, every child is unique. Some have special abilities like Rebecca, but most don’t. Still, every child, no matter their gifts or challenges, brings something wonderful to the people around them, if people know how to look for it and appreciate it.

Told from a fly’s perspective, this story has humor but also insight and depth. As Rebecca’s adoptive parents, and the others in her new home, try to understand Rebecca’s unique way of relating to others and the world around her, every one of them grows in compassion and sensitivity, not only toward Rebecca but toward each other. It is a great story for children and adults alike to help develop empathy for people who experience the world differently. This story would be perfect for schools and families. I highly recommend REBECCA & HEART.

What books have you read lately? Please post in the comments and share what you enjoyed about them!


Book Clubs, Book Talks, Book Blogs


I am a strong believer in the power of good fiction to transform lives.

After all, Jesus used fiction to teach and to reach the hearts of his listeners. Non-fiction can provide information and facts and appeal to our intellect and reason. But a well-written fictional story has the potential to create empathy and to reach hearts.

Prodigal_Son_CHS_cathedralConsider the story of “The Prodigal Son.” When Jesus wanted to teach the Pharisees and scribes the powerful message of hope and salvation for the sinner, he could have simply spelled it out in non-fictional words: God desires salvation for everyone, including the sinner. All are invited to the table of the Lord. So chill, brothers, while I eat with these tax collectors and sinners.

But Jesus wanted to speak to their hearts, so he chose to tell them a story. And his story had the dual purpose of reaching the tax collectors and sinners as well.

Jesus created characters that each of his listeners could identify with, he made those characters closely related (a father and his two sons), and he told a story that would touch hearts and produce empathy.

Fiction is good for us! Especially when we thoughtfully consider the story line, character growth, and themes…when we seek to learn something from what we’ve read.

Would you like to dive deeper into fiction and grow from what you’ve read? I encourage you to participate in the monthly YouTube Live Event Sabbath Rest Book Talks with hosts Erin McCole Cupp, Carolyn Astfalk, and Rebecca Willen.


Check out Sabbath Rest Book Talks Reading Selections for 2018. If you’d like to participate, read the books for the month and comment during the live event. This month one of my books is being featured, so I am offering a chance to win a signed copy of Standing Strong. Comment during February’s SRBT for your chance to win.

The other books featured on Sabbath Rest Book Talks in February are All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (this is a Pulitzer Prize winner) and Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day by Carol Benoist and Cathy Gilmore, the founder of Virtue Works Media.

open bookOther ways to dive deeper into fiction: check out the book reviews by Carolyn Astfalk and link up your own reviews of the books you’ve read. Carolyn posts An Open Book every month, giving short reviews of books she and members of her family have read. I have found many new books that I’ve absolutely loved, just from following her blog.

Another book reviewer to follow: Steven McEvoy and his blog “Book Reviews and More.” Steven McEvoy is a prolific reader and reviewer. Check out the list of books he’s read and reviewed over the last couple of years and prepare to be amazed. His reviews are thorough and insightful. I’ve added many books to my “must read” list by following his blog.

TFG-Trademark-Logo-300x215In addition to reading more, consider starting a book club. If you have teenage girls, you will want to check out “TOTALLY feminine GENIUS GENERATIONS BOOK CLUB,” which is a book club for teen girls, their moms, aunts, grandmothers, etc. It is such a fun and effortless way for women to mentor the teen girls in their lives. From the site: ” It’s far more powerful to SHOW rather than tell the kind of wonderful women God designed our girls to be.”

With the hope of helping readers gain more from my books (and as an aid to homeschooling parents and teachers) I am currently writing study guides for each of my books. These study guides will be available free on my website on the “Book Clubs” page. The guide for Roland West, Loner is complete and ready for download.

These are just a few of the many ways you can enrich your life through fiction. Please share your own ideas in the comments!

Book Review of Angel on Assignment


Today we have another guest post from author Susan Peek!


Book Review of Angel on Assignment by Wanda Carter Roush

The moment I saw the gorgeous cover of Angel on Assignment written by Wanda Carter Roush and illustrated by Mike Motz, I knew my children HAD to have this book.

Although I haven’t read Elf on the Shelf, for which this story is a Christian alternative, I was nonetheless delighted by the idea of a Guardian Angel “sitting upon a shelf” watching over whatever child God had assigned him. But before the young reader gets to that part, the book kicks off introducing angels from the New Testament.  Gabriel the Archangel appears first, greeting the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, then visits Saint Joseph with instructions to name the Baby “Jesus.” Next come the Heavenly Spirits who filled the sky on Christmas night, followed by those present at the Manger, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection of Our Lord. After introducing these angels from Holy Scripture, the author shifts focus and the rest of the book is about our own Guardian Angels and how they protect, inspire, comfort, and encourage us. The final pages contain directions on how young children can make, with parental help, a craft angel to sit on their own bedroom shelf!

I absolutely love the concept of this story. The message is joyful, and presentation fun, and the illustrations alone are worth the price of the book. The only thing that disappointed me is that the text is written as a poem (I assume Elf on the Shelf is too) and some of the stanzas seemed contrived, as if the author was fumbling to fit rhyming words together. In several places, my 8-year-old had a bewildered look on her face, not understanding the awkward rhyme, which forced me to stop and paraphrase what the author intended to say. That broke the flow of the story and was frustrating. I wish the text was more “little-kid-friendly” with perhaps a simpler rhyme. Having said that, I definitely plan to purchase a copy as a Christmas gift for a little girl I know.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

ChristmasFrontCoverSusan Peek is the author of fast-paced and exciting saints stories for children and young adults. I highly recommend her books as Christmas gifts, whether you have children or teens to shop for. Be sure to check out her Christmas story The Forgotten Christmas Saint: St. Anastasia!

#Open Book: November 2017


This is my second Open Book blog post! I don’t know if anyone caught the date of my last Open Book post, the one for September, but I titled it with the year 2107! Wow, I was really looking into the future with that post! library-2544157_1920

I hope that by the year 2107, I’ll be reading books from the Divine bookshelves!

One reason I like doing the Open Book blogs: I’ve discovered that while it feels like I have no time to read, I actually #AmReading! I guess it feels like I don’t read because I don’t get to read in my favorite way: resting on a mound of pillows on the couch with a hot beverage and pastry within easy reach in a quiet house, for hours and hours and hours. Oh well; there’s always the Divine library in the year 2107 for that.

I am happy to participate in CatholicMom.com and Carolyn Astfalk’s My Scribbler’s Heart #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve recently read. You are welcome to link up your own blog about the books you’ve read. Stop by Carolyn’s blog to see how.

Jairo'sBattleFrontCover I first stumbled upon Lisa Mayer’s Aletheian Journeys a year or so ago. I enjoyed The Arrow Bringer, the first book in the series, and jumped at the opportunity to read the second book. These fantasy stories contain Christian allegory, much in the style of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. They are filled with action, adventure, battles, and a bit of magic. Jario’s Battle shows the struggles of a man who has turned away from a life of profound wickedness. As he strives to fight the good fight, his past continues to haunt him. He wants others to believe that he’s changed, but at times he can’t even convince himself. I enjoyed the thorough development of themes about free will, forgiveness, and the purpose of suffering.

I love solving puzzles. Lately, I’ve been addicted to Sudoku. The lousy game keeps me up51Bfmxs18CL._SY346_ at night. I tell myself, “As soon as I find one more number, I’m turning out the light.” Then I find another number, and I’m saying the same thing again! I guess I like to keep my mind busy, and maybe that’s why I enjoy Judith White’s 1940s mystery series. I was excited to learn that Drowning in Deception, the next installment of The Case Files of Sam Flanagan, is out! Set in Detroit, these sleuth stories remind me of the Old Time Mystery Radio Shows. I’ve come to know the regular characters, so it’s fun to see them again in each new book. My favorite is Sam Flanagan’s grandmother! In addition to enjoying the great time-period details, I love how Judith White’s mysteries are a challenge to solve. She develops characters and threads so well, revealing a bit at at time so that you’re never really sure who done it! Her newsletter is quite a treat too. I encourage everyone to sign up. It’s unique and entertaining.

Because I am now following Erin McCole Cupp’s Sabbath Rest Book Talks, several of the books I’ve read have Christmas themes! Unlike the rest of the country, I don’t like to think about Christmas until we are at least in Advent. (I guess that’s not entirely true because I think christmasgracecoverabout the Blessed Nativity every Monday when we pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary! But I digress…) Anyway, I still enjoyed these Christmas-themed books.

The first one I read was Christmas Grace by Leslie Lynch. This story follows three women (a mom, her daughter, and her mother) who are also not in the Christmas mood, each having her own personal struggles. Natalie is pregnant and her husband is deployed, Ella’s husband takes her for granted, and Gert is trying to find herself after losing her husband. Before they find answers to those problems, crisis strikes and they are forced to reevaluate their priorities. This story got me thinking about the challenges and blessings of different stages of life.

unearthingchristmascoverThe next book I read for the SRBT was Unearthing Christmas by Anthea Piscarik. This book is hard to get a hold of at the moment, so I am grateful to Carolyn Astfalk for sharing her copy. This story jumps back and forth between 1955 and modern times, following two 14-year-old girls and their families. The families have their share of flaws and you can see how the faults of one generation affect the next generation. When one of the girls gets permission to turn the family bomb shelter into her own personal Christmas room, the story takes a wild turn. This story brought home to me the message that we shouldn’t put of reconciliation because tomorrow is never promised to us. I also enjoyed a little thread about the Infant of Prague and the St. Andrew Christmas Novena.

The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin is the third book that I 413qLkDHFALstarted reading for Sabbath Rest Book Talks. I didn’t get to finish the book yet because I was reading on my library’s website and they only let me read the first chapter. My reserved copy just arrived at the library so I’ll finish it today. But so far it seems like a sweet Christmas story that would make a perfect read-aloud. It begins with a beautiful presentation of family and motherhood. And the descriptions are lovely. The brand-new baby girl is described as “a rose dipped in milk” and “a little cherub with a halo of pale yellow hair softer than floss silk.”

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this month! If you want to link up to Open Book with the books you’ve read, you are more than welcome to! Click here for details.

Book Review of A Paralyzing Redemption


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the books that I’ve been reading for the past month, but today I am sharing a Guest Post by Susan Peek.

Book Review of A Paralyzing Redemption by Brian Ziegler

cover a paralyzing redemption (002)

“A Paralyzing Redemption” by Brian Ziegler is an incredibly inspiring Christian memoir that is difficult to put down and cannot leave its readers unmoved and unchanged. Brian tells with raw honesty and gripping emotion of his journey to God in an account which is nothing less than a true-life story of the Prodigal Son. At the beginning of the book, Brian was not much different from scores of young men in any college across the country: twenty-one years old, handsome, a promising future playing basketball–the sport he loved–plenty of buddies, girlfriends, and a loving family. He led a life of partying, goofing around, experimenting with alcohol and nightclubs, and having a rollicking good time with no interest whatsoever in God or saving his immortal soul. One horrific evening changed everything for Brian. Forever.

After waking up in a hospital following an harrowing accident, Brian learned he was paralyzed from the neck down. One instant was all it had taken to shatter his life. But God’s masterpieces are often sculptured from broken pieces. Christ had a plan for Brian.

Of course, Brian didn’t know this. Even if he had, he was nowhere ready to embrace God’s designs in those early agonizing days and weeks and months in the hospital. It would take a lot of suffering and blows to convince him of God’s love. Thus the reader follows him (or rather, holds his hand and joins him) on his incredible and pain-filled path to God.

As if being a quadriplegic at twenty-one years old isn’t bad enough, Brian’s life continues to plunge from one disaster to another. EVERYTHING seems to go wrong for him and I found myself cringing, and crying for much of the story. It was difficult to put the book down, and my own daily problems shrank to minuscule proportions while reading it.

To say the story had an impact on me is an understatement. But I did have a couple issues with it. Firstly, the book is riddled with typos, wrong words, formatting mistakes, misspellings, and other editing issues that kept jerking me out of the story and making me wish Crosslink Publishing had edited it properly. While Brian certainly has an amazing story to tell, his publisher should’ve caught the glaring errors and polished the content professionally. Some paragraphs were so unclear in meaning that I had to read them several times to figure out where the scene took place, what people were present, and what on earth was going on. Many times towards the end, I was unsure if I was meant to picture Brian in a wheelchair or on his feet with a walking aid. He would use terms like “I walked through the door”, and since he did regain some use of his legs eventually, I didn’t know if he meant it literally or not. It really broke the flow and totally threw me. Other times, characters would speak or do something in a scene when I had no idea they were even there. I had to reread whole chunks to get the new image in my mind. It was very frustrating and marred my reading experience. There’s nothing worse than being deeply connected with a heartbreaking scene, crying my eyes out, then suddenly being smacked in the face with a huge glaring editorial error. So if this kind of thing bothers you as a reader, be cautioned. Hopefully the publisher will someday fix these things and release a new edition.

My second problem with the book (and it’s a personal, one as a Catholic) is that while this is a beautiful, heroic and inspiring story, Brian embraced a Protestant belief system. So, again, be cautioned if you are a Catholic picking up this book. However there is no doubt that Brian deeply loves Our Lord, and I recommend this book to anyone who is suffering or searching for answers to the sorrows in their own lives.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program., which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

New Fantasy Series: The Aletheian Journeys


The Aletheian Journeys

Last summer I discovered The Arrow Bringer, the first in a new Christian allegorical fantasy series by Lisa Mayer.

ARROW BRINGERfrontThe Arrow Bringer tells the story of Evangeline Lewis, who has just been diagnosed with leukemia at the age of sixteen. Before she can catch her breath, a mysterious being called the Arrow Bringer offers her a choice: spend her last days in peace with her family, or save another world called Aletheia from a great evil. She chooses to stay. But then she learns Shawn Lawrence—the closest thing she has to a friend—has gone in her place. His life now hangs in the balance. Now it is up to Evangeline to save Shawn and race to fix her mistake as a shadow falls over Aletheia and the new friends she finds there. Even as her disease consumes her body, a new enemy and more imminent perils pursue her. And she must endure all and save Aletheia while keeping her darkest secret: that all of it is her fault. Hers is a story of Salvation.

Lisa Mayer’s writing style and fantastic character development drew me in immediately. Filled with betrayal, repentance, and forgiveness, this fantasy story has well-developed and interesting characters, beautiful setting details, and fantastic chapter endings that force you to turn the page.

This story is action-packed with battles, conflict, and mystery. The Christian allegory and symbolism appeals to me, the same way as in the Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. I liked reading actual Scripture verses in the story. It is so well done!

“Filled with emotional, moving scenes, this story brings out the beauty of true sacrificial love, sacrificing one’s self for others. And it gives a vivid reminder that God is ever by your side, despite the trials you are going through, and He loves you intensely, even when you fall.” ~Theresa Linden

The second book in this series, Jairo’s Battle,  tells the story of a reformed traitor king Jairo'sBattleFrontCoverwho wishes to prove to everyone, especially himself, that he is no longer a murderer. But that will be hard to do when his past of serving Kotu, the greatest threat to ever overshadow Aletheia, haunts him at every turn. Before he can even try to gain his bearings, a mysterious dark magic user called Stassia banishes him and his friends to the Other-World. Now, Jairo has little time to discern not only how Evie and Shawn’s families fit into all this, but also Stassia’s impossible connection to Shawn. Most troubling of all is Stassia’s certainty that she will corrupt him, and he will ultimately lose the battle within himself. His is a story of Redemption.

“Why does God allow suffering? Why has He given us free will? And how can He possibly forgive a person who has fallen so far? We’ve all grappled with those questions, but nothing compares to watching those ideas materialize through the pages of a gripping story. Great character development, surprising twists, and high tension make this book a page-turner. The powerful messages will resonate with everyone who’s questioned the struggles and sufferings of life and keep reader’s thinking long after the story ends.” ~Theresa Linden

Helper'sBladeFrontCoverThe third book, The Helper’s Blade tells the story of Shawn Lawrence, who once thought he was nothing more than a regular guy. But that all changed when he learned the truth about his past, and that the invisible rapier around his waist isn’t the only secret his father kept from him. But simply saving his father’s legacy is not enough for him—he wants to save his life. It seems impossible, until he discovers that dark magic will allow him to travel back in time. With the help of Kata, a dark magic user, he journeys into the past, determined to kill Stassia before it’s too late. Now, Shawn will have to race against time, despite the fact that doing so will require him descending into the darkness he is sworn to prevent. His is a story of Conversion.

I haven’t read this story but I will soon!

The author was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her writing. Please enjoy this author interview of Lisa Mayer:

What inspired the Aletheian series?

The Aletheian Journeys was inspired by Narnia. I had always known about Narnia, but didn’t get into them until 2005 when I saw the movie. I now own the books and love C.S. Lewis’ writings and consider myself a Narnian. I thought it would be cool to write an allegory series based on Narnia, which is why I wrote The Aletheian Journeys. I wrote it in honor of Narnia but I also gave it a modern twist so it would appeal to today’s youth.

Why did you write an allegory?

A lot of readers connect with an allegorical story. We all long to know the love of Jesus, even if we don’t know it. Allegories can be meaningful but also exciting. While the books are Catholic-Christian allegories at heart, they also have age-appropriate romance, fantasy, adventure, mystery, suspense, friendship and faith, hope and love. It’s meant to be enjoyable even if you don’t like allegory. It’s meant to help the reader have a deeper relationship with God, but also find themselves in the characters.

How many books do you plan to write in this series?

I plan to write seven books all together. Three are currently available. Readers can contact me at thearrowbringer@gmail.com for a free PDF copy of the first book: The Arrow Bringer. The Arrow Bringer, along with Jairo’s Battle and The Helper’s Blade are on Amazon as well.

What authors inspired you to write fantasy?

 I’m inspired by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, John White and his Archives of Anthropos series, as well as J.K. Rowling. I’m also a huge nerd and I love other world stories and movies, superheroes, sci-fi and fantasy.

15589960_706039216220005_8956142513724993667_n (002)Author Bio:

When not writing, I enjoy hanging out with my husband Rich and our dog Scooby. I spend time with family and friends, work on puzzles, bike-ride, read, watch my favorite shows, and jam out to loud music in the car. I’m a huge fan of superheroes and am proud to be a nerd.

Visit Lisa Mayer’s website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheArrowBringer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lisa_Mayer2015

Website: https://lisamayer0125.wixsite.com/thealetheianjourneys/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-mayer-216a05150/

New Release: Catholic teen fiction and St. Francis!



STANDING STRONG, the fourth book in the Catholic teen fiction West Brothers series, came out October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. I chose this for the release date because of a strong Franciscan theme. In this blog post, I’ll tell you a bit about seventeen-year-old Keefe West and the Franciscan Brothers.

Standing Strong follows the seventeen-year-old West twins, Jarret and Keefe. While Jarret struggles to remain faithful to God when faced with old temptations, Keefe tries to discern whether he has a calling to religious life.

Roland Front Cover with Award NoteKeefe West has come a long way since readers first met him in Roland West, Loner. He was once under the thumb of his controlling twin brother, Jarret. Sometimes he tried to talk his brother out of bad ideas, but more often he went along with Jarret’s schemes, even when he knew they were wrong.

While Keefe has always cared about his brothers—not wanting them unhappy or in trouble—he had a distorted view of true compassion.

The word “compassion” means to “suffer with” someone. However, true compassion cannot “suffer with” someone when sin is the cause of the suffering. True compassion considers the real needs of the other, including moral and spiritual. And sometimes the compassionate choice is to speak the hard truth.

In Life-Changing Love, on a trip to Italy, Keefe experienced a life-changing event. LCLFrontCover(Spoilers: he visited the Basilica of St. Mary in Bagno di Romagna, where he witnessed a Eucharistic miracle.) As he knelt before the Lord, the transforming fire of Christ’s love touched his heart. Upon returning home, he experienced the true measure of his transformation. He had to finally show true compassion to his twin by refusing to condone Jarret’s poor choices.

Keefe’s transformation created a rift between himself and Jarret, but it opened the door of Keefe’s heart to Christ. In Standing Strong, the latest book of the West Brothers series, Keefe feels drawn to a religious vocation, but he must first fight a few inner battles.

Battle Front Cover with awardIn Battle for His Soul, a group of Franciscan Brothers passed through Keefe’s town. To ensure accuracy, I researched Franciscan communities and happened upon a group of Brothers who I’ve been following ever since: the Franciscan Brothers of Peace in Minnesota. The Brothers in my story are loosely based on the Brothers of Peace.

These Brothers know all about true compassion. From their website: they are a “Pro-Life Religious Brotherhood dedicated to giving (their) lives for love of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.” Faithful to the teachings of the Church, these men are committed to serving and defending the most vulnerable members of society: the pre-born child, the severely disabled, survivors of torture, the poor and the homeless.

I was incredibly touched by the story of their founder, Brother Michael, and by the other Brothers’ loving care of him. At age thirty-two, he suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and was left with brain injury and a severe disability. The Brothers remained by his side at the hospital and later at an extended care facility, where he spent seven months. Then they brought him home to provide round-the-clock care. They did not see caring for him as a burden.

“Brother Michael became the loving heart of our home and of our Brotherhood. In the mystery of God’s plan for Brother Michael and for us, the Lord Jesus Christ manifested Himself in Michael and through his brokenness, and brought about a spiritual formation that we could not possibly have experienced in any other way.” 

I encourage all to pray for vocations and to visit the Franciscan Brothers of Peace website to learn more about the Brotherhood. Read about their history and “The Roots of Brotherhood.”

Like the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, I too have been deeply moved by the story of St. saint-francis-of-assisi-300x300Francis, especially by the way he took the words of Christ literally.

“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow Me.”      ~Matthew 19:21

I wrote a blog post about this called “All In with St. Francis.” Thousands of men and women hear this call today and choose to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis. And the Franciscan Brothers of Peace are beautiful testimony to that.

Standing Strong is available in paperback or ebook.

Follow the blog tour now!

  • CatholicMom.com posted the Press Release: “Catholic teen fiction can turn the tide of young adults leaving the faith.” You can also read an excerpt from Standing Strong!
  • T.M. Gauoette – writer, blogger, and author of Catholic fiction and non-fiction. Author T.M.G. has been kind enough to host my guest post “Why We Need Catholic Teen Fiction”
  • Leslea Wahl, author of award-winning Catholic teen fiction has read an advanced copy and posted her review, along with several other early reviews of the book.
  • Cynthia Toney, author of the Bird Face series, has posted my article about the inspiration for Standing Strong. It has to do with a nun and her teenage student who doesn’t like to read.
  • Carolyn Astfalk, author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, has posted the book trailer and her review of the book.
  • And finally, please check out my blog post about the Top Ten reasons you need a copy of Standing Strong!