Summer & Books: Testing Liberty

Standard
Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

9780996816823.MAIN

I never meant for Chasing Liberty to be a trilogy. I wrote it as a stand-alone that was meant to get readers thinking. But my readers wanted to know what happens next, and the characters began to tell me. The second and third books in this trilogy came together rather quickly.

Check out the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win the entire trilogy.

About the Book:

Hidden no more. Imprisoned by the all-controlling government. Slated for Re-Education. Liberty must escape from a high-security facility to rescue the colonists who lost their freedom. Their capture is her fault.

Set in the not-so-distant future, where the government controls society through indoctrination, population control, and the eradication of the family, Liberty bides her time in Aldonia’s Re-Education facility. If she fails to escape and rescue the others, the children, teens and adults of the Maxwell Colony will be integrated into society, facing sterilization and indoctrination. She is not alone in the desire to rescue the colonists. An underground, anti-government group has been rescuing people from Aldonia for years, but never have they attempted to rescue so many at one time. To do so would risk exposing, even ending, their operation. Dedrick, one of the top rescuers, grieves for his family members who are now residents of government’s facilities. He wants Liberty free, but he is opposed to working with her.

Racing through the wild, the underground and sordid inner-city slums, Testing Liberty follows Liberty from one trial to another, to her final sacrifice.


Check out the book trailer here. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will share a few images that tell some of the story from Testing Liberty.

Here are a couple of review snippets from Amazon.

A great sequel to Chasing Liberty. It takes up from the first story and carries it forward. You meet more characters, also thoughtfully drawn. It is full of action and surprises, as well as thought provoking ideas. It is totally believable, as our society heads the way of the Regimen thinking today. I like how Dedrick and Liberty draw closer, although she has to atone for what she caused to happen in book one. I can’t wait for the wrap-up in the last book. I hope they overthrow the Regimen and return America to its roots.

“Chasing Liberty and Testing Liberty have made me a fan of dystopian fiction. Smart, suspenseful, and well-written, these gems will have you eagerly awaiting the final book in the series!”

Want to learn more about Theresa Linden and her books?

website: www.theresalinden.com

blog: Things Visible & Invisible

Facebook author page

Twitter: @LindenTheresa

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: 6 Dates to Disaster

Standard

Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

bird3

About the Book:

When Wendy’s family faces financial hardship, she must find a way to see Mrs. V and Sam again—but will she lose David forever in the process?

For her mom’s birthday, Wendy finds an old jewelry box at a flea market—the perfect gift for someone who loves salvaged junk. But inside the box is a cryptic note that appears to have been written recently. Wendy’s curiosity leads her on a search with boyfriend David at her side, eager to help. Who wrote the note, and did the intended recipient ever see it? But when Wendy’s stepfather loses his job, she needs more personal and urgent help—the financial kind.

The family’s plan to visit Alaska on vacation is headed down the sewer like a hard Louisiana rain. How will Wendy ever see Mrs. V or Sam again? An opportunity arrives in the form of tutoring Melissa, one of the Sticks, and Wendy’s money problems appear to be solved. Until the arrangement takes a turn that gets Wendy into trouble like never before. In the final months of ninth grade, she might lose everything she counted on for the future.


In addition to the fun story line and getting to hang with characters that I’ve come to know and love, this book gave me a lot to think about. Wendy has a lot of opportunities and moral choices to make in this story. I like to know how authors come up with story ideas and themes, so I asked Cynthia Toney a question.

Have you ever risked everything (or almost everything) like Wendy does to see someone you miss or to get what you want?

Today I’m not as impulsive as I was as a girl or young woman, but yes, I’ve taken risks in attempting to get what I want. There’s a saying: “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Often, I’d become frustrated because of a setback or because something wasn’t happening as quickly as I’d like. I’d leave a situation for what seemed a better one and then regret not giving the first one a little more time to develop into what I needed. Or I’d act out of desperation and later realize how undignified I appeared. Like Wendy, I found my integrity slipping away when I didn’t think my decisions through before making them.

~Cynthia T. Toney

My review:

Cynthia Toney has written another fun story in her “Bird Face” series. Many of the characters you’ve come to love in the first two books are back, even if only through email. Main character Wendy Robichaud and her family face new struggles. And Wendy stumbles upon a new mystery, a cryptic note she finds in an old jewelry box that she bought as a present for her mother. Wendy makes some choices she doesn’t quite think through and they lead her into a ton of trouble.

A great book for young teens that gives the reader a lot to think about: family responsibilities; giving tough advice to a friend; making mistakes, owning up to it, and paying the price.  I enjoyed the Cajun touches like this one, “My stomach flipped like a crab cake on a spatula.” I recommend this book for any teen, especially if they’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series.

Visit Cynthia T. Toney:

Website:  http://www.cynthiattoney.com

Blog:  http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/CynthiaTToney

Twitter:  @CynthiaTToney

Instagram:  @CynthiaTToney

Pinterest: Cynthia T. Toney, YA Author

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: Saving Faith

Standard
Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

Saving Faith final1 (002)

If you are looking for a character-driven series that promotes virtue, you might want to check out T.M. Gaouette’s Faith & Kung Fu series. Yesterday, I blogged about the first book in this series, Freeing Tanner Rose, and today I’ll share a bit about Saving Faith.

martial-arts-291049_1280

About the Book:

Saving Faith is the second of four books in the Faith & Kung Fu series.

With Tanner Rose gone, Gabriel is left to settle back into the God-devoted life he’d become so accustomed to. Except that his best friend’s sister, Faith, has decided that a life for the Lord is just way too confining. In an attempt to live a little, Faith focuses her interests on a handsome, but worldly, boy from her school, who has major self-control issues in and out of the kung fu arena. When things get too deep for Faith, she looks to Gabriel for help. Can Gabriel save Faith from self-created destruction or is he just too lost in his own worldly struggles to lend a hand?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Author T.M. Gaouette does a bit of research for each of her books. For this one she researched Scripture and the Catholic faith on various points, including pursuing the vocation of priesthood and attending seminaries. 

She also shared with me a bit about Gabriel, the main character of the Faith & Kung Fu series:

My character Gabriel is the center of Saving Faith and this four book series. He is a teen girl’s dreamboat. He’s exceedingly handsome, physically attractive, smart, and an expert in kung fu. But there’s a surprising twist. Gabriel is extremely devoted to God, and is unashamed about that commitment. He wears his godliness confidently, but with humility. Basically, he’s cool and he makes adoring God attractive and cool too. Gabriel is not perfect. He struggles also. But he always looks to the Lord and he never gives up on Him.

Gabriel’s faith is his life. He adores God. He talks to Him, defends Him, and leads people to Him constantly, but he’s not preachy or pushy. It’s just instilled within him so that it’s delivered and received naturally. Scripture plays a huge role in this series, and is usually a part of Gabriel’s everyday external and internal dialogue.

I’ve read and enjoyed the first book in this series and I look forward to checking out book two!

A few Amazon Reviews:

“Gaouette does an excellent job fleshing out her characters. They are real, and very well written. Also the plot, there are likely very few of us who have not known someone who drifted away from the faith, or someone who struggles or struggled with anger issues. Or have friend impacted by divorce and its effect on the whole family. Gaouette captures so many deep issues and yet deals with them with sensitivity and from her faith based perspective.”

“The author does a great job taking us on her emotional journey leading up to the moment where she must decide if she’s going to stay true to who she is or succumb to the overwhelming pressure placed on her by her peers. There is a firm foundation of Biblical truths woven through the story. The author has a pleasant writing style and this book nicely ties in with the previous book in the series.”

Connect with T.M. Gaouette and learn more about the author and her books:
Website: https://tmgaouette.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TMGaouette

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: Freeing Tanner Rose

Standard
Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

BookCoverfinal (002)

Ever wonder what faith and kung fu have in common? This summer, dive into the first in T.M. Gaouette’s Faith & Kung Fu series, Freeing Tanner Rose, and find out!

martial-arts-291049_1280

About the Book:

Freeing Tanner Rose is the first of four books in the Faith & Kung Fu series.

For Gabriel, Tanner Rose is just a superficial starlet, addicted to Hollywood. For Tanner, Gabriel is just a boring, kung fu-loving, Christian boy, who’s living a lackluster life in the middle of no-where. So, what happens when she’s forced to live in his world? It doesn’t take long before Tanner Rose craves a taste of her old life, even if it means upsetting a few people along the way. She thrives in the spotlight, after-all! Will Gabriel’s faith encourage Tanner to change her partying ways, or will her wild undertakings and addicting vices tempt him to do things he’d never considered before?

“There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” ~1 Corinthians 10:13

My boys love play fighting in the backyard or wielding walking sticks (or even yard tools). The other day I was watching my youngest (a 13-year-old) spinning two sticks at one time, one over his head and the other out in front. And I thought to myself, “Wow, that boys has skills!” He would probably benefit from martial arts training of one sort or another. In addition to health and fitness benefits, I believe that such training would provide discipline that would benefit a person in every area of their life.

I asked Author T.M. Gaouette why Faith & Kung Fu was the title of her fiction series and here is her answer:

I’ve been told that it’s a fascinating affiliation. But I’ve never been asked why I chose it. And my reasons go far beyond the fact that both myself and the main character, Gabriel, are devoted to our faith and love kung fu – he is far more superior in both than I am, however.

What Gabriel gets out of kung fu, he puts into his faith, such as physical and emotional strength, discipline, modesty, and balance. Kung fu is also an external manifestation of his internal devotion. Finally, kung fu provides Gabriel with the forum for intense meditative prayer and connection with God.

Modesty plays a huge role in this novel. The author recently posted “Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series: Modesty” on her blog. Be sure to check it out!

A few Amazon Reviews:

“Principled and religious without being pious or cloying, this is a fun, refreshing story about something other than fashion and romance.”

“This book is great! Helps one realize that faith can get you through difficult situations and that you don’t need to know how to “do” religion in order to believe. The characters are easily imagined in looks and personality. Wonderfully engaging.”

Connect with T.M. Gaouette and learn more about the author and her books:

Website: https://tmgaouette.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TMGaouette

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: Rosa, Sola

Standard
Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

Rosa Sola cover with SOA seal of approval2 (002)

“It’s easy to forget, or overlook, the impact that the death of an unborn or newborn sibling can have on other children in a family. Rosa, Sola explores all the raw emotions that go along with a family tragedy–in a manner that is merciful, not gratuitous.” –taken from a book review by on Catholic Mom

About the Book:

Rosa Bernardi, an only child living with her Italian immigrant parents in 1960s Chicago, often feels alone, or SOLA, as her parents would say. But after she holds her best friend AnnaMaria’s baby brother for the first time, Rosa is sure that if she prays hard enough, God will send her a brother of her own. When Rosa’s prayers for a sibling are answered, she is overjoyed—until tragedy strikes. Rosa is left feeling more SOLA than ever, and wondering if her broken family will ever be whole again.


In addition to a review of the book by , you will also find a character interview on Catholic Mom!
Author Carmela A. Martino shares how this book came to be:

The novel began as a short story called “Rosa’s Prayer,” which I wrote while working on my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. I had originally enrolled at Vermont to complete a YA novel, but after a few months in the program I realized that I didn’t yet have all the writing skills I needed to make that particular story work. Instead, I began a middle grade novel about a 12-year-old boy whose friends kept moving away. When my advisor, Marion Dane Bauer, critiqued the opening chapters of the novel, she said it lacked “emotional core.” I was devastated. I knew what my character was feeling, but apparently those feelings weren’t coming across on the page. Marion suggested a writing assignment: she asked me to write a short story about an event from my childhood that still aroused emotion in me. I chose to write about fear—the fear I’d felt at age ten, after my mother nearly died in childbirth.

“Rosa’s Prayer” went through several revisions. By the end of the semester, Marion approved the story for inclusion in my creative thesis. However, she said I could also submit it for my next residency workshop, which I did. My workshop group provided terrific feedback and encouraged me to turn “Rosa’s Prayer” into a novel. I spent most of my time in the Vermont Program working on the manuscript. The original short story spanned only a few weeks, ending on the day Rosa’s mother comes home from the hospital. The novel encompasses a year in Rosa’s life, and focuses not on Rosa’s fear as much as on her family’s struggle to heal from their loss. Interestingly, the most common feedback I’ve heard from readers is that the novel made them cry. For me, that’s a great compliment. I think Marion would be proud.

Since I haven’t read the book yet, though it is on my “to read” list, I have snagged a review from Amazon:

“School Library Journal called this a “gentle and moving story,” and I have to agree. Rosa is a good Catholic girl who desperately prays the rosary every night for God to send her a little brother. I don’t want to give the story away, but as the Amazon summary states, tragedy strikes the family. You can’t help but feel for Rosa and her family. Carmela Martino’s descriptions of love and loss are dead-on. Make sure you’ve got a hankie nearby when you reach the mid-point of this book. Still, the story is told with such compassion and care for the characters that you can’t help but love them. This would be a wonderful book to share with a child who might be coping with loss.”

Connect with Carmela A. Martino:

Website: www.carmelamartino.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/carmelamartinoauthor/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/carmelamartino/

Twitter: @carmelamartino

Instagram: @cmartinoauthor

​Carmela is available for in-person and virtual visits and workshops. For details see: www.carmelamartino.com/bio.htm

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

Standard
Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

BookCoverImageKindle (002)

This summer, expand your horizons and step into the heart of the world of foster children. Author T.M. Gaouette provides an inside look of the trials and joys in her book The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

About the Book:

Ten-year-old Benedict has been moved from one foster home to another, and he’s hated every one. When he arrives at Sunshine Ranch, he doesn’t bother unpacking. What’s the point? But his new foster parents and siblings are different from what he’s become used to. David and Martha Credence strive to instill love and Christian values in their family, and it inspires hope in each child.

Benedict is not into “religion,” but Sunshine Ranch is the home he’s secretly been yearning for. Still, he fears it’s all just a little too good to be true, and his sentiments are validated when he learns that they may lose Sunshine Ranch. Can the Credence children help save the Ranch? Will faith keep them together? Or will Benedict’s dream be shattered?

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is a story about a family devoted to God. It relays the personal journeys of all the Credence foster children and their struggles to overcome past and present pain and adversity. In this novel, the confidence of the devoted is challenged, but an even deeper understanding of God and His love are revealed.

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:12-13I


I love to learn how authors come up with their story ideas. Some of my ideas come from the news, others come from real life experience. And still others come directly from my imagination or from contemplating an idea or a “what if?” I asked author T.M. Gaouette how she came up with the story idea for The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

Author T.M. Gaouette’s answer:

I’m not sure how other authors come up with stories, but for me a novel can begin with a single moment in a scene. My moment was the main protagonist Benedict walking past a beautifully decorated living room with a large burning hearth. Another child, around his age, walks in and says, “It’s like a scene in a movie, right?”

I was inspired by the idea of a child who knew only the dark side of foster care, entering the light of those many other homes that offer love and compassion and patience. Martha and David’s foster care home was like a scene in a movie. And this was one of the reasons why Benedict struggled to feel at home. He was afraid that one day the movie would end. By the way, I never did use that scene in the final version of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch. But the concept remained.

Amazon Reviews:

“From page one I was pulled into this extremely moving novel about a young boy in the foster care system, unwanted and hurting, and how God draws him to Himself by incredible and quite surprising events.”

“I am finding it difficult to put into words my thoughts about this book, because the story speaks directly to the heart, and there are no words sufficient for how my heart was touched by this book. From the first page to the last, I found myself drawn compellingly into the love, suffering and grace of a large family of foster children drawn together from diverse circumstances and cultures. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down! This is the best read I have had in a very long time!”

Connect with T.M. Gaouette and learn more about the author and her books:

Website: https://tmgaouette.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TMGaouette

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks

Summer & Books: 8 Notes to a Nobody

Standard

Inspired by the A to Z Blogging Challenge this past April, I have decided to blog about books for the month of June. I will be sharing tidbits about my own books and the other books on the Catholic Teen Books website.

bird1

Looking for a series for the summer? The school year is over, but this story will have you wanting to go back! At least with the characters in this meaningful middle-school story.

About the Book:

“Funny how you can live your days as a clueless little kid, believing you look just fine … until someone knocks you in the heart with it.”

Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks–until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the spring program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. And the more Wendy discovers about the people around her, the more there is to learn.

When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer after eighth grade, who will be around to support her as high school starts in the fall?


8 Notes to a Nobody took me back to my school years, all the awkwardness, cliques, and labels. But also to the fun and mystery of those years!  I asked author Cynthia T. Toney to share her thoughts on the various labels kids give each other, the good and the bad in it.

There are the Sticks and Brianiacs in Wendy’s school. What are your thoughts about the labels kids give each other in school?

“Kids certainly learn this practice from other kids, sometimes older siblings, but also from adults. Think about names that adults use for other adults in front of their children. They use unflattering nicknames or labels for their work supervisors or department heads, extended family members, neighbors, and even their spouses and children. Kids learn by example. Some labels aren’t as bad as others. “Brainiac” would not have offended me as a kid, but often a sneer and ugly tone of voice accompany name-calling.” ~Cynthia T. Toney

This book has the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.

logo color CWG SOA (002)
My Review:

This is a well-written story with realistic characters and situations. The subject matter is relevant to the struggles teens face today. I was drawn in by the voice of the main character and the humor—I even laughed out loud! But the story also pulled at my heartstrings, and many moments rang so true they brought me back to my teenage years.

The main character, almost fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud, has so much to offer but she just can’t see it. She sees others as having what she lacks and has to remind herself, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s life!” As the story unfolds, with the help of notes from an anonymous friend, she begins to realize the truth. And the truth can be hard at times. She hadn’t known the struggles other kids in school faced.

I wish I’d read this book as a teen or pre-teen. If offers perspective and solutions for the struggles teens face. It’s natural to be introspective in the pre-teen and teenage years, but the more we can look outside and really see others, the more we can realize we’re all in this together. And everyone is carrying their own cross. Perhaps with that frame of mind, young people can see themselves and others in a new a light.

Visit Cynthia T. Toney:

Website:  http://www.cynthiattoney.com

Blog:  http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/CynthiaTToney

Twitter:  @CynthiaTToney

Instagram:  @CynthiaTToney

Pinterest: Cynthia T. Toney, YA Author

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have you stumbled upon a favorite book this summer? Tell me about it in the comments. Feel free to share a link.

CathTeenBooks