Book Review: The Grace Crasher

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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.

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New Fantasy Series: The Aletheian Journeys

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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/

Chasing Liberty Giveaway

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liberty giveaway

Have you heard about my trilogy giveaway?

When I discovered that Fight for Liberty was going to be one of the books discussed on Sabbath Rest Book Talk, I got excited! Then I realized that this July 4th is the one-year anniversary of publishing the final book in the trilogy. So I decided to celebrate with a giveaway of the entire trilogy!

If you enjoy dystopian fiction that makes you think and takes you on a wild ride, I think you’ll enjoy this trilogy!

The government controls everything. The earth has been elevated above man. Faith, family, and freedom have been suppressed. A young woman seeks freedom.

This trilogy shows cutting-edge technology and developments in science. It is not farfetched. The ideologies come directly from actual, powerful special-interests groups that consider humans to be the “plague of the earth.” The third book, especially, has a strong American theme and takes readers back to the American Revolution. That’s why it was released on the Fourth of July!

Let us celebrate our country’s independence and our freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Enter to win the Chasing Liberty trilogy!

“It is a must read as this book takes you further in what happens to a society that is government run than the book Agenda 21 by Harriet Parke and Glenn Beck.”  ~Joe Goldner, co-host at The Truth Is Out There-Voice of the People Radio Show!

“Testing Liberty never disappoints as it treks through the wild, the underground, and sordid inner-city slums to prove that freedom isn’t free.”                                               ~Don Mulcare, Catholic Writers Guild

“Some regimes go out with a bang, others with a whimper. In Fight for Liberty, Theresa Linden takes the reader on a wild ride as Aldonia and its surrounds descend into chaos. Despite the seismic changes going on around them, Dedrick’s love for Liberty is steadfast. With each risky mission she undertakes, Liberty must consider where and how she can do the most good and whether her future will include Dedrick. Should she commit herself to bringing freedom to Aldonia, or are there other, more subtle ways she can make a difference? The final book in the Liberty Trilogy includes all the action and intrigue you’d expect along with the resolution of Liberty’s seemingly paradoxical quest to both be free and to belong.”              ~Carolyn Astfalk, author of Stay With Me

This giveaway is featured on the following blogs:

Sabbath Rest Book Talk

My Scribbler’s Heart Blog

Franciscan Mom

Catholic Fire

Catholic Mom – post with author interview

Bird Face Wendy

T.M. Gaouette Blog

Tim Speer – Christian Author

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit

Larry Peterson Books and Commentary

And it is advertised on Reading is My Superpower

 

 

 

 

 

Summer & Books: Someday

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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.

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Another dystopian by Corinna Turner. Someday is the prequel to the Yesterday & Tomorrow series. All proceeds from the sale of SOMEDAY go to “Aid to the Church in Need.”

“I hope that reading SOMEDAY will help people living in a different culture, in a security most Christians, and indeed Muslims, in north-eastern Nigeria can scarcely imagine, to better understand what people are suffering here.” ~Ignatius A. Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria.

About the Book:

A retelling of the 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria.

“IF YOU WANT TO DIE, SIT DOWN HERE.
WE WILL KILL YOU.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DIE, YOU WILL ENTER THE TRUCK.”

Ruth and Gemma have a Physics exam in the morning.
Becky and Alleluia are revising for college entrance tests. So it’s an absolute nightmare to be woken by the fire alarm in dead of the night.

But for them, and for 272 other girls from Chisbrook Hall girls boarding school, the real nightmare is just beginning.

Because ‘al-Qabda’ are taking them all away.
Whether they want to go or not.

Author Corinna Turner shares a bit about what went into writing Someday.

I did very little research for this book about anything other than the actual events concerning the real kidnapping of the Chibok girls, which I follow extremely closely. No research no doubt sounds like a very strange, even lazy, thing for an author to say, but it was a very deliberate decision. Anything ‘non-real life’ to do with the seizure or transportation of the girls, I made up 100%. I wanted it to sound plausible as one read it, but in no way be accurate.

In other words, I had no wish to write a ‘How to Kidnap Schoolgirls’ guide.

That is totally understandable, Corinna! And I am sure this was a hard book to write.

Amazon reviews:

“I love Corinna’s style of writing. Her novel about (fictional) abducted Christian girls by Muslim terrorists is based on real situations. She has me praying for real-life abducted Christian girls and looking forward to more in this series.

Cannot recommend this book enough. Read it aloud to my teens. Life changing.”

“This was not an easy book to read. It was not a fun book to read. But it was a very important book to read! It takes the events from the news of the Boko Haram Chibok school girls’ kidnappings and recasts it set in England.”

While this is a very relevant and important read, please note that the disturbing nature of what happened to these girls makes this a story that is not for the faint at heart.

This book has the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.
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Learn more about Corinna Turner and her books:

Website: http://www.IAmMargaret.co.uk

Review Blog: https://faithfullfilms.wordpress.com/

Face Book Author Page

Amazon.co.uk Author Page

Amazon.com Author Page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CorinnaTAuthor

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: Mission Libertad

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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.

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Mission Libertad by Lizette M. Lantigua is based on the real-life struggles of the Cuban people.

About the Book:

Will Luisito fulfill his grandmother’s mission, and will they be united in the land of freedom?

Crack the Biblical code in this story of suspense, adventure, discovery, and faith! Fact and fiction converge in this thrilling tale of 14-year old Luisito Ramirez—a courageous boy who daringly escapes from 1970s communist Cuba— as he becomes immersed in American culture, and carries out a secret religious mission under the eyes of spies. Integrating Spanish vocabulary and Cuban culture, this novel for ages 10-14 provides an exciting story of the Catholic faith lived out during turmoil.

Amazon reviews:

“This is such a wonderful book with so many interesting aspects to it. First of all, it is a fabulous historic fiction for middle school and high school age kids about a time in history that I haven’t seen much written about. There is also an intriguing mystery aspect to the story that keeps the reader engaged and anxious to find out what will happen next. In addition, it has a beautiful religious element about this young Catholic who finally is able to explore and understand his faith. But my favorite part of the book is how the very likable main character experiences America for the first time. Lantigua does a masterful job of showing the heartbreak and devastation of a communist society through the eyes of this sweet and caring young man.

I especially liked how this book makes something that is a hot topic–immigration–and puts it into perspective. This book lays the foundation for what poverty could really look like in a Communist third-world country and contrasts it with the things Americans take for granted. It’s not done in a “open up and take THIS” kind of way, but as part of the setting and plot.

Learn more about Lizette M. Lantigua and her book:

Amazon author page

Facebook author page

Linkedin

Instagram: @Lizettemlantigua

Twitter: @LantiguaDesigns

Good News! Book Fair sites

Twitter Account: @GNBOOkFAIR

Instagram: gnbookfair

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: Bane’s Eyes

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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.

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The final book in your next fast-paced, mind-blowing dystopian! You won’t want the series to end. Corinna Turner finishes off this series with the final conflicts in the exciting, thought-provoking story of Bane’s Eyes.

About the Book:

“Bane, I know it’s risky, but I think I should do this speech. We’ve got to win… If we don’t, we’re all dead…”

A HUSBAND IN DESPAIR… AN ENEMY IN NEED… A LIFE AND DEATH VOTE…

In three months, the citizens of the EuroGov will decide whether or not to abolish Sorting, the grim annual harvesting of “imperfect” teenagers for their organs.
If they vote the wrong way, then Margo and everyone she cares about will die.

While her beloved Bane struggles to cope with the loss of his eyes, the lives of millions of young people and Believers are at stake as Margo embarks on increasingly risky media missions out of the Vatican. Every step she takes is steeped with political consequences.

Author Corinna Turner shares how she researched for Bane’s Eyes. 

A certain amount of the Vatican State description in Bane’s Eyes and elsewhere in the series is 100% authentic (though some has been altered because, after all, it’s set in the future, you know…).

How is this? Well, I was super lucky to visit Rome for a holiday/retreat run by an order of Religious Sisters, and some of the Sisters worked in the Vatican. I was doubly lucky because it was back in 2010, before security became such a huge issue. This meant that the Sisters thought nothing of slipping us into some of the less secure areas for a little behind-the-scenes tour (places like the Campo Santo Teutonico (Swiss Guard Graveyard), Square of the Roman Proto-Martyrs, Via di Belvedere, and Belvedere Courtyard).

We got even further into the State during a quick car tour, but when we reached the Vatican Gardens they said we would have to turn back there, since the Holy Father could be walking there at any time and the Swiss Guards wouldn’t let us pass. It was all totally awesome!

To see a few present day behind-the-scenes shots, click HERE. NB; please do not try to wander into these places yourself! We were with people with official Vatican passes, and anyway, sadly, times have changed.

And here’s my review!

I am a fan of dystopian fiction. But when the story contains elements of faith, it is so much more powerful to me! This dystopian series rocks! Bane’s Eyes is packed with adventure, challenges, trials, and authentic human emotions. I particularly loved how the underground Catholic Church is shown.

Turner’s writing is incredibly strong and visual, perfect for a dystopian story. And the characters are all so well developed, three-dimensional with strengths and flaws, and they each continue to grow.

Highly recommend this series to older teens adults!

If you fall in love with the series and want a little bit more, Corinna Turner has provided it. Check out Margo’s Diary! It is filled with fun stuff from the series, including Margo’s Underground Latin Primer, her favorite Psalms and Prayers, a few Maps, and a diagram of a ProCamera Mass kit that a priest used in the stories.

This book has the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.
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Learn more about Corinna Turner and her books:

Website: http://www.IAmMargaret.co.uk

Review Blog: https://faithfullfilms.wordpress.com/

Face Book Author Page

Amazon.co.uk Author Page

Amazon.com Author Page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CorinnaTAuthor

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: Liberation

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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.

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Book three in your next fast-paced, mind-blowing dystopian! The tension is mounting! Corinna Turner gives us another exciting, thought-provoking story with Liberation.

About the Book:

“Seriously, Bane, should I sit around and pat myself on the back for resisting the EuroGov for six months of my life? Or should I go out and try to make a world in which you and I can raise children without being afraid that one day, they’ll be taken from us and murdered?”

THE EUROBLOC GENETICS FACILITY WHERE MARGO WAS IMPRISONED STANDS EMPTY. EVERY OTHER FACILITY IS FULL. TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

In the Vatican’s hidden place of exile, Margo and her fiance, Bane, hatch a daring plan: use Vatican strike teams to liberate teenagers destined for human ‘recycling’—to start a public outcry against Sorting. But if they succeed, the EuroGov’s vengeance will be swift and merciless. If a revolution happens, will it be too late for Margo—and Bane?

Author Corinna Turner shares some super fascinating details that went into writing this story:

The Citadel of Rabat in Liberation is a real place! Pretty much all the details are accurate, including the fake dome on the cathedral. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Malta and Gozo before writing Liberation, and I was going around sussing out all the old cities, trying to find the best hideout for my characters.

In the end it was a toss-up between two extraordinary walled cities, one in Malta – Rabat, also known as Victoria – and one on Gozo – Victoria, also known as Rabat (confusing, huh?). Gozo’s Victoria/Rabat (with its incredible Citadel) won the ‘extraordinary’ stakes by a hair – I really do mean it when I describe it as a ‘perfect city in miniature’. It also won on small size and isolation, both things that made it the more likely choice for a hide-out in Liberation.

You can see photos of the present day Citadel HERE.

I hope you checked out the Citadel! And here’s my review:

I thoroughly enjoyed Liberation, the third book in this series. This entire series is action-packed and fun to read, but also so thought-provoking. Turner’s clean, quick, and descriptive writing style is so fitting for this type of story.

It’s easy to see the similarities in attitudes and ideologies between the future conveyed in this story and today. I love how Margo, Bane, and Jon stir things up a bit, and I love the message that the books in this series give: we can’t just sit around and watch our world fall apart, even if we are safe and comfortable for the moment. We have to think about our children and their children, along with everyone else. We are all in this together and we must do our part to make things better.

Though they each struggle with different trials, Margo, Bane, and Jon do their part, take the risks, and give all they’ve got. And while the Church has had to go underground, it remains a very important part of the solution.

Highly recommend this series to older teens (there is a bit of language and violence) and to adults!

This book has the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.
logo color CWG SOA (002)
Learn more about Corinna Turner and her books:

Website: http://www.IAmMargaret.co.uk

Review Blog: https://faithfullfilms.wordpress.com/

Face Book Author Page

Amazon.co.uk Author Page

Amazon.com Author Page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CorinnaTAuthor

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