New Release: Molly McBride and the Party Invitation


I found a series your children will love!

As a writer, mother, and homeschooler, it has been important to me to instill a love of reading in my children. Although my boys are teens now, I still love to check out great books for all ages. I particularly love stories that are fun but also have a moral message. Just the other day, I found a series that your children will love: the Molly McBride series by Jean Schoonover-Egolf, who is both author and illustrator.Molly-McBride-and-the-Party-Invitation-cover-1-19

Earlier this month, Jean Egolf released the third book in this series: Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity

Story summary:
Molly McBride is turning six, and her momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”? Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing acts of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party.

My review:  “Jean Schoonover-Egolf has captured the excitement and struggles of young children in the pages of this sweet story! Molly McBride and the Party Invitation brings Jesus’s lesson of loving one’s enemy to life through the eyes of soon-to-be six-year-old Molly. I love how themes from the Gospel are shown through this story and how the children, especially Molly, take these themes to heart. This is a wonderful story for children about finding happiness in doing the right thing and true charity when faced with unkind people. And the illustrations on every page are amazing!”     ~Theresa Linden

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written and Illustrated : “Paperback Beautifully written and illustrated, Molly McBride and the Party Invitation is the third in a series of books about Molly, a little girl who enjoys dressing in a purple habit. This one is about Molly’s sixth birthday party. Her mom insists on inviting every student in Molly’s class, but Molly doesn’t want to invite the bully in the class because “he is mean.” This is a wonderful book that illustrates the virtues of charity and love of neighbor. Highly recommend!”  

~Ellen Gable Hrkach, February 16, 2018

The first two books in this series:


Volume 1: Molly McBride wants to be a nun, just like her friends, the Children of Mary Sisters. That’s why she hasn’t taken off her purple nun’s habit ever since her mom made it for her. But now, everyone is saying she needs to wear a scratchy new dress for her older sister Terry’s Big Event. Will Molly and her wolf-pet, Francis, find a way to keep wearing her purple habit?Join Molly and Francis as they learn all about nuns, habits, and being close to Jesus.

Volume 2: Molly McBride is back and she is as stubborn as ever about her purple habit. She will wear nothing else! She’s managed to keep it on for her sister’s Big Day, but now the faith-filled five-year-old has a whole new wardrobe worry: kindergarten! Join the McBride family and the kindergarten class at Holy Trinity School as Molly and her loyal wolf-pet, Francis, discover that what we wear isn’t as important as what God sees inside of us.

Jeanie Egolf-22
About the Author
Jeanie Egolf is a retired physician-turned-homeschooling-mom/artist/author who resides in Central Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her awesome hubby Jay Scott Egolf, MD, two amazing daughters, and one rescued “Huskador” puppy. Dr. Jeanie’s art is available for purchase throughout galleries in Ohio and Florida and online at
Social Media Links:

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!

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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!

Work of the Holy Angels


Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. AMEN

As a writer, I love to hear from my readers. I love to know what they think of my stories and what they hope comes next. My readers influence me. The themes and story line of my latest release, Standing Strong, were inspired by a reader. You can read all about it on author Cynthia Toney’s blog post about my book.

angel3Recently, a reader inspired me to look into a religious movement that I never knew existed. A professor of theology who read my book Battle for His Soul asked if I had any connection with Opus Angelorum or if the story was inspired by its spirituality.

I was not familiar with this spirituality, however, I wrote Battle for His Soul to draw attention to the spiritual battle that goes on all around us and to increase devotion to our guardian angels. And I researched the Church’s teaching on angels, using Scriptures and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

But this reader got me curious. So of course I had to look it up! And I am so glad I did! The group is called Opus Sanctorum Angelorum.

From their “About Us” page:

Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, the Work of the Holy Angels, is an international movement within the Catholic Church faithful to the Magisterium. It is ordered to promoting devotion to the holy angels and a covenant bond with them through a Church-approved consecration, so that the holy angels may lead us more effectively to God.

Their website is packed with information!

  • You can learn about the holy angels on their “Catechesis on the Angels” page, which includes dozens of Scriptural and Catechism of the Catholic Church references.
  • They have a page of commonly asked questions on the Angels, which includes questions like “How do angels communicate with us?” and “Do angels have wings?”
  • As you learn about the spirituality of this association, you will also find beautiful quotes and prayers.
  • And you can read about real life experiences of the intervention of holy angels in people’s lives. Here is one of many testimonies on the website:

After reading your newsletter, I was reminded of this incident and wanted to tell you about it. When my daughter was 21 months old, we were walking on the upper level of a school building. I turned my back for a few seconds and when I looked again, she was running towards a two-story flight of concrete stairs. Before I could stop her, she began to run down them and tripped. She started to fall, but before her head hit the step something caught her and slowly pushed her back to an upright position. When I arrived next to her, she was standing still. There was no possible ordinary explanation for this. Although I could not see anything, I felt a strong presence and I know it was her Guardian Angel that saved her that day.                             ~Erica S.

cemetery-1670233_1920Want even more than you can find on their website, they have a link to their store where you can find books and audio on angels, prayers cards and crucifixes. And they offer something I’ve always wanted to try: Silent Retreats!

I love my guardian angel and feel so very close to him at times. Sometimes when I am too tired to pray, I ask him to say hello to God for me. I know he is ever by my side, praying for me and helping me to follow the right path, step by step.

Angels are God’s messengers and our constant companions. They want us to grow in holiness and to draw ever closer to God through Jesus Christ. I encourage you to visit their website so that you can learn more about angels and increase your devotion to your own guardian angel.

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”          ~Hebrews 1:14

Book Review: The Grace Crasher


516arGS316L._SX331_BO1204203200_It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so much while reading a book. This story has so many hysterical parts! I absolutely loved it!

The Grace Crasher opens with Julia and her best friend Robin in a Christian store, shopping for things that can help Julia look like she’s evangelical. She desperately wants to get an apartment but the landlady is a born-again Christian.

At one point, Julia tries on a shirt and turns her backside to Robin.

“Does this Jesus shirt make my butt look big?”

“Not big, just …trapezoidal.”

Then they move to the Bibles. Julia grabs the plain one that simply said Holy Bible because it seemed like the most Bible-ish one.

We soon learn more about Julia, her family, and her interests. She has a crush on Dylan Heath, the lead singer of a local indie band, but when she sees cute Mark, the store’s manager, she decides it’s a good idea to have a backup crush.

I must admit: it was Carolyn Astfalk’s review of The Grace Crasher that compelled me to get a copy for myself. Her book reviews are thorough and reliable, and I think we have similar tastes.

I cracked this book open (actually I read an ebook, so that phrase doesn’t really work) expecting to find a light, humorous, enjoyable story that I could read a little at a time before bed, and I was not disappointed. Author Mara Faro pokes fun at both Evangelical and Catholic Christians, but not in a mean way. It was all gut-busting fun! But as the story developed I also found surprising depth of character and story-line. The main character faces trials many can identify with and goes through a beautiful transformation.

Well-developed and realistic characters, along with the continuous humor, and the deeper spiritual insights made this a fantastic story that I highly recommend.

Other Reviews:

“A great take on infatuation vs. love, speaking the truth in love, and being true to yourself.” ~

“Julia’s path is a relatable one, and in her flaws and the flaws of the characters around her, we see ourselves and our own brokenness with delightful clarity.” ~

“Loved it! Fun, inspiring, quirky,…I had lots of laughs reading this!” ~Amazon review

Funny, insightful, and brilliant!” ~Vera A. Velk

A hilarious, poignant story that sets the broken love among families, friends, lovers, and fellow believers against the backdrop of God’s unfailing, patient, perfect love.” ~

You can learn more about the author Mara Faro at her website.

You can get the book on Amazon in both paperback or ebook format.

Church Suffering, Militant, and Triumphant!


I love the month of November and not just because it’s my birthmonth! This month reminds us that we are called to be part of something that transcends space and time: we are called to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

What is the Mystical Body of Christ?

St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “You are the Body of Christ, member for member” (1 Cor 12:27), and of Christ “the Head of His Body, the Church” (Colossians 1:18).

So St. Paul compares the Church to a body which has many parts with different functions but are still united. The members of the Church are bound together by supernatural life through Christ. This includes the members of the Church who are in Heaven, Purgatory, and still alive on earth, that is: the Church Triumphant, Church Suffering, and Church Militant.


Faith or The Church Triumphant, oil on canvas painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1664 – 1665 (public domain)

This November begins with the Feast of All Saints, a celebration of those who have fought the good fight of the faith and have taken hold of the eternal life to which we are all called (1 Tim 6:12). They are our intercessors and our inspiration. “…since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).



Ludovico Carracci circa 1610. Public Domain.

November 2, we Commemorate all the Faithfully Departed, keeping the Church Suffering close to our hearts and offering prayers on their behalf, for they can no longer pray for themselves. Several Franciscan saints have been great helpers of the Holy Souls.

Padre Pio encourages us with these words: “The souls in Purgatory pray for us, and their prayers are even more effective than ours, because they are accompanied by their suffering. So, let’s pray for them, and let’s pray them to pray for us.


If you aren’t sure what Purgatory is or you’d like to learn more, here’s a nice article about what it isn’t.



Knights of Christ in the Ghent Altarpiece. Public Domain

Next, on November 23rd in America, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a celebration of country, family, and our many blessings from Divine Providence. In a way, this is a celebration of the Church Militant, those who are in the world and actively involved in the great battle between good and evil. As we offer thanksgiving for our many blessings, including our faith, family, and Church, let us find ourselves renewed in zeal to continue fighting the good fight.

I am a Secular Franciscan and for us Franciscans, the themes of this month circle back to the Church Suffering and Church Triumphant, as we commemorate all the deceased members of the Franciscan orders on the 24th and celebrate all the Franciscan saints on the 29th.

No matter how dark the days or how heavy the cross we carry, let us never forget that we are part of something amazing—the Mystical Body of Christ. And we are called to be great saints!

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.                      ~Prayer of St. Gertrude

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

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“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 book review program., which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.