Book Blogging

I just love books. Whether I am reading of sewing, crochet, other crafts or a book of a different genre - I love to read!

I recently found a wonderful site called Blogging for Books. Sign up, choose a book, receive, read AND REVIEW! A wonderfully FREE book, and a help for other readers. Should they buy the book? You just might help them decide.

If you have a recently published book, I will happily review it for you. Send me an email at charlene@thesewbox.com and we can chat.

BLOGGING REVIEWS

Book Cover 
On Heaven and Earth, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and Abraham Skorka (Rabbi)

Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the twenty-first century. 2010.

On Heaven and Earth is a wonderful dialogue between then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, and Rabbi Abraham Skork; bringing together their most inner thoughts. This is a very easy read and full of thoughts and beliefs of both men. I felt like I was in the same room while they conversed back and forth. Insightful as to similarities and differences between Catholicism and Judaism.

Topics covered relate so much to our world today. Relating theological and world issues; they talk back and forth about money, poverty, atheists, politics/power, woman, prayer, and so many more topics.

Rabbi Skorka and Pope Francis developed a relaxing rapport and as Pope Francis said, "With Rabbi Skorka I never had to compromise my Catholic identity, just like he never had to with his Jewish identity...out of respect that we had for each other..."

"God makes Himself felt in the heart of each person...God is open to all people. He calls everyone, He moves everyone to seek Him and to discover Him through creation." - Pope Francis.

LOVED this book!   - Charlene
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Praying in Rome - ebook

According to Blogging for Books, "Cardinal Timothy Dolan brought down the house on September 3rd. No, not at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but on the “Colbert Report,” where the good Cardinal traded jabs with host Stephen Colbert, and discussed his bestselling e-book original, Praying in Rome.

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan’s personal reflection of his time in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis in early 2013. Full of his characteristic good humor, the book chronicles the myriad of emotions he felt upon the resignation of Pope Benedict and during the process of electing the next Vicar of Christ.

During his conversation with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night, Cardinal Dolan joked that only his mother and Colbert had read Praying in Rome. In truth, his bestselling e-book has garnered enormous praise for its honesty, insight and humor."

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Camerado, I Give You My Hand
by Maura Poston Zagrans
Image, publisher 2013

I had heard about Father Dave Link and Maura Poston Zagrand book, Camerado, I Give You My Hand on a talk show. Knowing the book was on the way to me from Blogging for Books, I was more than excited and intrigued. Soon as the book arrived, I eagerly started reading.

I was not disappointed at all! The more I read, the more I wanted to to keep reading. Every step of Father Link's life is inspirational. At the age of 71, he became a priest. From a lawyer to a priest may not seem plausible until you read about the life journey of Father Link. As a very successful lawyer, he set aside one day a week for pro bono work. He insisted his work mirror the values which he and his wife, Barbara, held dear.

Father Link was an international lecturer, founding president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, Australia, and for twenty-four years was dean of Notre Dame Law School. Thousands have been inspired by him. Since the 1960s he has been active in civil rights, and co-founder of the renowned Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Indiana.

Early in his law and teaching career, and at the suggestion of his wife, Father Link  began teaching and ministering to prisoners at Indiana State Prison. When his wife of forty-five years passed away, Link was unsure of the next steps in his life but before long he was a priest.

The book is filled with not only information about Father Link's life, but example after example of how he has touched so many people - both on the inside of the barbed wire prison and outside. The book title more than fits the story within. He was truly a camerado to thousands.

Camerado, I Give You My Hand is published by Image, released 2013.

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Take Flight!
published by Multnomah Books

Robin Jones Gunn and her Sister-chick, Cindy Hannan have done it again! If you want to take a bit a day but take it to the limit, this devotional is for you.

I love devotionals and the format of this book has it all! After reading key Scripture verses each day, you are given space right after the verses to jot down your thoughts. Nothing fancy - just what comes to you! This Sister-Chickin keeps you going. You have daily Scripture and some travel tips and bits of wisdom.

This is a truly inspiring book and make it what you want (or need!) - quick devotionals, journaling, and connect with your own Sister-Chicks!

As the book says, Take Flight! Spread your wings and really fly! Loved the uplifting and freshness of the book.

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Walking with Mary
A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross
by Dr. Edward Sri
published by Image, 2013.


I was captivated from start to finish and although information about Mary is scant in the Bible, so much is learned while reading this book! This is a very readable, 5-star book.

Mary may appear just a few times in the Bible, however so much can be learned about the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, from those few passages. In a very readable way, Edward Sri walks the reader step-by-step through the Bible's account of her life from her calling in Nazareth to her suffering at the cross. Edward Sri reflects on thoughts of biblical scholars, the Catholic tradition, and recent popes. This book will draw you closer and closer to Mary the ever-virgin, Mother of God.

Mary walked the journey by faith. Her "yes" to God at the Annunciation was repeated over and over as Jesus grew from a child to a man. Mary was going about "her ordinary life in the insignificant village of Nazareth when the angel speaks to her." God choose Mary based on her sovereign grace, not her riches or standing in society not a woman from Jewish aristocracy, nor the wife of a famous scribe or Pharisee. Mary was actually the first person to "risk everything for the sake of Jesus Christ: the first of all believers."

Dr. Edward Sri's book, Walking with Mary, will inspire you to walk in Mary's footsteps along your own personal pilgrimage of faith. I have taken this pilgrimage with Dr. Sri and have learned so much about the life of Mary, and connections to her final walk to the cross. You will never think the same when saying the rosary!
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The Mass
The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition
by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina
Doubleday, 2011
 
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is a joy to read! I was captivated by his book, The Catholic Way, and The Mass, is another inspiring book. As he says, "It's time for us to take a fresh look, from where we sit now - and from where we stand and kneel."
Mike Aquilina is the author of over twenty books. Putting the two authors together, with their wit and wisdom, is to our benefit.

Readers are guided through the Mass from the procession to the final blessing and dismissal. The order of the Mass is explained in an engaging manner - the vessels used, unique clothing, gestures, postures, prayers are given specifics. The more we  know about the "whys" of the Mass, the specifics, the biblical, historical - the more fully we can participate.

Did you know the procession signifies our "earthly pilgrimage to heaven"? The most fundamental prayer; the basic blessing - the Sign of the Cross - is a gesture, a prayer, a summary of the core of Catholic beliefs - the Trinity of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So simple, yet so much meaning.

From start to finish, the Mass is accurately and richly explained down to the last detail. Why does the priest mix a little water with the wine? Why does he wash his hands? The song *Holy, Holy, Holy* is one learned from the angels. Heaven and Earth are joined together, and while we sing joyfully, we are surrounded by heaven's angels.

Every Catholic should read this book as it is insightful, and will certainly nourish their faith.

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The Last Secret of Fatima
by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
foreword by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

(Read excerpt from Chapter 1)

WoW! *The Last Secret of Fatima* is one of those books you should put on your "wish list" to read as soon as possible. A perfect book to add to your Christmas list! Once I started reading, the book was very hard to put down. Very easy read, yet full of such inspiration from Blessed Mary. The foreword is by Pope Benedict XVI, as he states, "This book is an effort to make the reader better acquainted with the heavenly messenger herself...Mary." What better reason to read this book than that? Cardinal Bertone, a top advisor to Pope Benedict breaks the Vatican's official silence on the last secret.

In 1917 three Portuguese children witnessed an apparition of Mother Mary in Fatima, Portugal. Not once but on the 13th day of six consecutive months time. "They learned how to approach the Virgin by watching her, by contemplating her radiant childlikeness... Beholding her smile, they smiled back, just like a baby who comes to know its mother even before learning her name." The 13th day? Read and learn other important revelations of the number 13. Our Lady of the Rosary. According to Lucia, the oldest of the three cousins, they were entrusted with three secrets - the three secrets of Fatima. They were taught specific prayers to pray, sacrifices, and adoration of the Lord.

Cardinal Bertone was the previous Secretary of State of the Holy See. He was sent to Fatima by Pope John Paul II to prepare for this release of the "final secret".

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Why Catholicism Matters
by Bill Donohue
published by Image, 2013

I agree with Cardinal Dolan's comment about *Why Catholicism Matters,* "Offers a fresh and compelling look at how the teachings of the Catholic Church continue to provide the best guide for a healthy, happy society." Many times I have looked at today's cultural society and can't fathom what I can personally do to change unworthy habits and attitudes. Bill Donohue tells me quite simply, "The good society lies in waiting, but the right recipe has been around for two thousand years." What an eye-opener of how easy it is to make a difference. To help bring about change while living my Catholic beliefs - just follow the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Four of our Church's best attributes can be applied to not only solve problems of our present society, but prove me (us) a simple guide to follow. As we follow our Catholic beliefs, we are modeling to others. A virtue is quite simply a 'good habit'.

The Introduction is easily and quickly read; filled with knowledge and guidance! The entire book is easy to read, and spiritually up-lifting. Dr. William Donohue's writings of *Why Catholicism Matters* are based on years of experience and a life over-flowing with acts for the Catholic Church. He is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious Civil Rights. A publisher of the Catholic League journal, *Catalyst*. He's the author of five books, and recipient of many awards. He has seen much of what he writes of.

There are four chapters, covering each of the Cardinal Virtues fully as to how they can solve society's ills. Development of a good habit takes practice and it's "a strength of the Catholic faith that teaches people how to cultivate good habits." Donahue contends that virtue doesn't come easy and the importance of family - a mother and father - in cultivating virtuous behavior. Each virtue is interrelated to the others, none stand alone. Together the four Cardinal virtues are very potent towards moving toward a healthy and happy society.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to "make a difference" and regain a society that is healthy in attitudes. Look to the Catholic faith and the four Cardinal Virtues.
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Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux by Patrick Ahern
http://www.imagecatholicbooks.com/book/224203/three-gifts-of-therese-of-lisieux/
As soon as I received Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux I started reading and found it very, very hard to put down. Before I knew it, I was halfway through the book! Author Patrick Ahern writes from the heart and it is evident throughout the book. Ahern focuses on the three gifts of Therese - her universal appeal, her conviction, and her little ways. She truly inspires us, as "ordinary" people, that we too can live and share in little ways for God.
St. Therese is my patron saint so I have read many books about her, and by her. The simplistic message of Ahern gave me even more of an insight in this beloved saint. Therese is truly a saint for our times. I felt a surge of renewal after finishing the book.
Whether preparing your heart and soul for Lent, or wanting a book to just absorb, Three Gifts of Therese of Lisieux is for you! I loved it!
Excerpt: link text
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Sacred Fire
by Ronald Rolheiser

In Sacred Fire, author Ronald Rolheiser, asks the question, "How do I live beyond my own heartaches, headaches, and obsessions so as to make other people's lives more meaningful?" That is a fairly deep question for many to think about, or as Mary says, "To take to heart." After the first chapter, I started grappling with this on a personal basis. As I begin my own challenging journey through Lent, Sacred Fire is the perfect book to read. As Teresa of Avila says, "How can I be helpful?"

*Sacred Fire* makes one move beyond our own self, desires, and at times selfish wishes. We are to think of our brothers and sisters regardless of the need they have. We should be asking quite simply, "How can I be helpful to them?" The intent of the book is questioning how we can become less self-centered, focus less on the "me" and reach out to "you", my fellow man. Rolheiser lays out the questions so we can search for answers in biblical script and our own heart.

*Sacred Fire* is the sequel to his other book (next on my reading list!), *The Holy Longing.* In *Sacred Fire* Rolheiser compares our lives toward discipleship with the fermenting of fine wine and its stages. Our first stage is just getting our persona life together. The next is asking, "How can I give my life away?" Living out this phase generously is what Rolheiser calls Mature Discipleship.

Through the author's clear, concise, and easy reading, the book encourages and inspires for a deeper and closer relationship with God.

Book Excerpt

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The Quilted Heart Omnibus
by Mona Hodgson

As an avid quilter, sewer, and Civil War buff  The Quilted Heart Omnibus  was a perfect combination. Add God's Graces and reading couldn't be better. Author, Mona Hodgson, has a gift for writing books that are entertaining and inspirational. There are three "novellas" in this book, Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Towards the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore.

Each novella is a story of itself, yet pulled together by the same characters living in St. Charles, Missouri. Elsa Brantenberg holds the Saint Charles Quilting Circle in her farmhouse right outside of town. If you remember "quilting bees", then you can imagine the closeness of the woman. There have been heartaches of the Civil War and together they endure.

Each story is of a lovely, sweet romance and Christian faith. I love how each novella is backed by scripture. While reading the story, one is brought to the bible and the message conveyed.

If you love tender romances, the Civil War era, quilting - either separately or together - you will become a fan of  The Quilted Heart Omnibus.





Enjoy!

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Catholic Bible Dictionary
by Scott Hahn

The Catholic Bible Dictionary is indispensable for all questions you have about events, places, people and more of the Bible. The research hours Scott Hahn spent putting this reference book together has paid off! Topics are not just "lightly touched up", but have given me extensive information. I looked up The Last Supper and at my fingers are all the topics I may want - the Eucharist, transubstantiation, old testament sacrifices, effects of the Eucharist, as a sacrament. 

At times in my readings, I see the Encyclicals of various Popes. It is very easy to now find the in-depth information I want about them - right when I need it and without having to connect to the internet (then try to guess which site to go to!).

I have found The Catholic Bible Dictionary so valuable and recommend to you. Whether you are reading for your spiritual growth, or planning a lesson; this book should be always near by.

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