Stock the Shelves Campaign now on!

UnSeen Books is delighted to be taking part in the ‘Stock the Shelves’ campaign, which is running from May 15 – June 3, 2022, with the goal of of promoting Catholic and Orthodox fiction in local libraries!

STOCK THE SHELVES

THE EASY (AND FREE!) WAY TO SHARE CATHOLIC AND ORTHODOX FICTION WITH OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

Did you know that, as a patron and taxpayer, you can suggest books for your public library’s permanent collection? Librarians are always looking for new, interesting reads, and that includes fiction from Catholic and Orthodox Christian voices! Recommending books is a great way to share the fruits of the sacramental imagination with a wider audience.

HOW TO STOCK YOUR LIBRARY SHELVES:

1) Copy book information from publisher/author’s website (linked below) or bookmark this page on your phone.

2) Bring the information with you on your next library trip.

3) Say to your friendly librarian, “May I request [wonderful book] for your collection, please?”

4) Provide the book information.

5) With prayer and a little luck, the library will take up your suggestion!

Alternatively, check the library’s website for an online request form.

 

You can find the necessary information about all Corinna Turner’s titles on the new Library page!

For more information about the Stock the Shelves campaign, click HERE.

2021 Releases!

I’ve been terrible about updating my site this year, so here are my 2021 releases all in one post!

BRAND NEW RELEASE! A SAINT IN THE FAMILY (November 2021) – I Am Margaret book 7

FAITH.

FORGIVENESS.

FREEDOM.

Fr. Kyle Verrall has lived his life in the shadow of his famous sister, Margaret—and that’s fine by him. But after his kidnapping by Reginald Hill, he must learn to cope not only with his physical injuries, but also with his unwelcome new popularity. Meanwhile, Margaret continues her fight for true democracy. But can she practise what she preaches and forgive her oldest enemy?

This volume contains two novellas, A SAINT IN THE FAMILY and PERSISTENCE, which follow on from the events of THE SIEGE OF REGINALD HILL. It also includes five short stories.

 

PRAISE FOR A SAINT IN THE FAMILY

A very powerful collection. I do not produce a lot of tears, but this volume brought me to tears more than once. Persistence had the deepest impact on me. I have really struggled to forgive my mother. And it was almost 8 years after she passed before I had Masses said for her. It was a book by Theresa Linden, Tortured Soul, which softened my heart, and started a healing process. The story Persistence has softened it a lot more.

STEVEN R. MCEVOY, blogger, BookReviewsAndMore.ca

 

A fantastic collection of short stories which enriches the I Am Margaret world with touching moments of brotherhood, sacrifice and devotion. I laughed, I cried, it made me think differently about life, death, heaven and hell—what more could you want from a book?

RUTH PASZKIEWICZ

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats (some may still be coming online so you may need to search manually on the site)

 

WILD LIFE (September 2021) – unSPARKed book 5

LIFE OUT HERE AIN’T A GAME. AS YOU’LL LEARN THE FIRST TIME SOMETHING GOES SOUTH.

Having avoided being separated and taken in-city, there’s still a chance Darryl and Harry can rescue their father from his kidnappers. As they settle into their new life as young hunter Joshua’s assistants, Josh can teach them how to handle the wildlife—but worse threats loom on the horizon.

The fifth quick-read in a fantastically fun series from the Carnegie Medal Nominated author of the I AM MARGARET books.

PRAISE FOR WILD LIFE
How I wish these books had been written when I was a child! Highly recommended action and adventure for dino enthusiasts of all ages!
KATY HUTH JONES, author of Treachery and Truth

Darryl and Harry may be safe for now, but they still have a lot to learn from the hunter Joshua about living in the wild. The stakes are rising in this unmissable new entry in the unSPARKed series, an adventurous tale of family drama, faith, and dinosaurs!
DR. LISA THEUS

A couple of teenagers trying to put their family back together… while learning how to hunt dinosaurs, and making sure that they don’t end up being hunted themselves. An entertaining premise, compelling—and admirable—young characters, and skilful fast-paced writing.
Hard to put down.

MARIE C. KEISER, author of Heaven’s Hunter

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

CHILD, UNWANTED (MARGARET OF CASTELLO) (September 2021) – Friends in High Places book 3

NO ONE’S ADOPTING SCARFACE. I’M NOT THAT DUMB.

Abandoned by everyone in his life and scarred from a failed abortion attempt, Miri struggles to believe his new foster family could really want him. When a devastating accident changes everything, all hope seems gone—until a young woman once equally unwanted starts visiting him in hospital. Can ‘Little Margaret’ teach Miri that his life is still worth living, now more than ever?

The third book in the Friends in High Places series, Child, Unwanted can be read as a standalone. The series is Parental Guidance since it contains some mature themes.

Friends in High Places is a short fiction series that presents saints’ biographies in the context of imaginary teenagers’ lives. The stories are written primarily to entertain, with inspiration and education thrown in for free!

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

OLD MEN DON’T WALK TO EGYPT (SAINT JOSEPH) (June 2021) – Friends in High Places book 2

FRIENDS, POPULARITY, BOYFRIEND, CHECK.
HAPPINESS…?

Katie has everything she thinks she wants—friends, popularity, and a gorgeous athletic older boyfriend. But the more time she spends with Shaun, the more miserable she feels.

When freaky Daniel suggests Saint Joseph for her research project, her supposedly perfect life spirals out of control. Will the carpenter from Nazareth destroy everything she thinks matters—or give her even the things she didn’t know she wanted?

Old Men Don’t Walk to Egypt is the second book in the Friends in High Places series, but can be read on its own. The series is Parental Guidance since it contains some mature themes.

“Despite being beyond blessed as a Dominican Sister of Saint Joseph to be under his patronage, I always struggled most of all in getting to know St Joseph as a flesh-and-blood person. Seeing him through Katie’s eyes has had a beautiful and unexpected impact on my own relationship with him and—finally—I’ve found a friend and spiritual father in St Joseph!”
– Sr. M. Catherine Bloom, OP

Friends in High Places is a short fiction series that presents saints’ biographies in the context of imaginary teenagers’ lives. The stories are written primarily to entertain, with inspiration and education thrown in for free! 

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

DO CARPENTERS DREAM OF WOODEN SHEEP? (May 2021) – A Friends in High Places story

THE NATIVITY STORY—WITH A SCI-FI TWIST!

Razim’s staying overnight to help his friend Daniel, who’s sick with leukaemia, but he’s forgotten his phone! Lying awake after watching Bladerunner, Razim reads the only story he can find—about Joseph and Mary—only to fall asleep and find himself in futuristic Merillia.

In Merillia, his name is Cleopas, and his big brother, Jo, is considering an arranged marriage to a girl called Miryam. Soon, events are in motion that will change their lives—and the world—forever.

For anyone who feels over-familiar with the story of St. Joseph and the Holy Family after Christmas after Christmas of nativity plays, this imaginative re-telling thoroughly blows the dust off.

A standalone spin-off from Corinna Turner’s ‘Friends in High Places’ series, it can be read on its own or in between books 1 and 2.

PRAISE FOR DO CARPENTERS DREAM OF WOODEN SHEEP?:

The friendship in action of Razim shines through, as does Daniel’s deep faith in God. Razim’s dream is an imaginative retelling of St. Joseph’s life and should appeal to the techie gadget-loving reader. This is a story that will work with young adults male and female.
SR. TERESA CARDINEZ O.P.

A fresh and enjoyable approach to the life of St. Joseph, cleverly incorporated into a dream. The story really hit home for me on several levels.
ANDREA JO RODGERS, author of award-winning Saving Mount Rushmore

It’s difficult to re-tell such an overly familiar story like Joseph’s and the Nativity story, but this creative adaption gives it a fresh twist!
CAROLYN ASTFALK, author of Rightfully Ours

Really great for nerds like me!
ROBERT, age 12

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

A CHANGING OF THE GUARD (March 2021) – Last Things book 2

A DYING PRIEST.

A BOTCHED EXECUTION.

A YOUNG MAN ON THE BRINK.

Tomas Flores hates serving on the prison’s Death Squad—and now he may be about to lose his job thanks to his actions during Carl Jarrold’s hellish execution. Desperate and conflicted, where can he turn?

Father Jacob Thompson has spent decades opening his heart to convicted murderers—only to watch them die. Now his last black sheep is safely gathered in and he’s ready to rest—but will the Lord let him?

If you loved the tense, “psychologically-compelling,” spiritual thriller Three Last Things: or, the Hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin, then this heart-wrenching, emotionally-taut sequel is for you.

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

‘Liam and the Hunters of Lee’Vi’ (February 2021) – An unSPARKed short story

It’s Christmas week, but sixteen-year-old Tam and the hunters of the Lee’Vi are out looking for a pack of Utahraptors. Instead, they find a boy staggering through the snow, on a mission to save his family. Can they find them before it’s too late?

From the Carnegie Medal Nominated author of the I AM MARGARET series, this thrilling unSPARKed short story provides a pulse-pounding introduction to the series.

Available here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Other sources & formats

 

My final 2021 release was a short story contribution to the anthology TREASURES: VISIBLE & INVISIBLE which got its own blog post.

Treasures: Visible & Invisible

Introducing

Treasures: Visible & Invisible

by

Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, Antony Kolenc, Amanda Lauer Carolyn Astfalk, Leslea Wahl, T.M. Gaouette, and Corinna Turner.

 – A brand new Saint Patrick Anthology –

From the early days of the Church, objects touched to holy men and women have been linked to the miraculous, such as described in Acts: “when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” Acts 19:12

Catholic Teen Books have just released their latest anthology, nicely in time for Saint Patrick’s day next Wednesday. Celebrate this year with an anthology of gripping stories honouring the saint!

Check out the mini-blurbs below:

  • A teen boy sets out to save a friend from pagan druids, but maybe he’s the one who needs saving.
  • Between a baffling scripture verse and a visit from Heaven, a young monk is in for the surprise of his life.
  • A young girl seeks a mysterious treasure that holds the key to granting a nun’s dying wish.
  • Honora is desperate—then a peculiar clover and a mysterious young man change everything.
  • William’s weekend job is a little gift from heaven, but now his family needs a real miracle.
  • When threatened by mobsters, Grace receives help from a surprising source.
  • Alone and afraid, a young girl finds friendship in a stranger. But could this boy be trouble?
  • Kyle was determined to save the precious relic – but now his whole family is in danger. (This is my contribution – it’s a brand new I Am Margaret prequel story.)

You can buy the book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997971878/
or anywhere that sells books.

Find the anthology at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57053306-treasures
(Why not leave a review and let other readers know what you thought?

Or check it out at: www.catholicteenbooks.com

 

CHALLENGE:

Can you watch the foot-tapping Book Trailer all the way through without dancing around the room?

 

You can even win the anthology in a giveaway.
Don’t miss it! See below!

Click HERE for the Giveaway! 
(Sorry, US Winners Only!)

 

See what the Advance Reviewers thought:

 

In a world where today’s young adults are constantly surrounded by media that is trying desperately to tear them down, it is a blessing to have books like this that reaffirms our Catholic faith.  Not only does each author give us a great story to read, they also challenge us to think about things like: the hardships of people in our ancient church, putting Grandma first on our social calendars, praying to God when in the midst of fear and suffering, staying strong in our faith while looking death in the face, listening to unlikely friends who lead us on the path to Christ, and ultimately realizing there is sacredness in the relics of our church.  You only find stories that build our faith like this in very special books.  The “building-up”of today’s youth is at the very heart and soul of what the authors are trying to do here, and they have done an amazing job.
Beth Ruggiero
Lit by the Tree, Literature reviews from the Catholic side.
Litbythetree.com



I invite teens, and readers of all ages, to stand on the craggy wind-swept cliff of your imagination, and experience the collection of stories called, Treasures: Visible and Invisible, created by the talented team of authors from Catholic Teen Books. With a shamrock as our touchstone, this book takes us on a journey through an expanse of time from ancient to modern. Be inspired by the holy greatness of heroism rooted in the spiritual treasures of the Emerald Isle.
Cathy Gilmore,
Creator and advocator of stories that inspire heroic virtue. VirtueHeroes.com



We thoroughly enjoyed this cleverly written book about the intercession of St. Patrick throughout the ages. The combination of dynamic characters and intriguing stories kept us hooked from start to finish. A valuable addition to your St. Patrick’s Day bookshelf!
Jennifer & Kate Waldyke,
Co-hosts of Catholic Mom and Daughter



This is the third collection from the authors of Catholic Teen Books. It was an inspiring read. Some stories are of miracles and others about change. Two contributors from the previous collection did not contribute and two new ones have joined the fray. In this collection are 8 stories from the 14 authors who currently compose the collective. My first thought was wow! What an amazing collection of stories around Saint Patrick! I am aware that not everyone likes short stories, but I love them, and this collection is amazing! Short stories are a different art form than novels, and not all novelists have mastered the craft. For a short story to be good, the writing needs to be tighter, cleaner, and crisper. And each of the 8 in this collection is extremely well written…
(Full review on BookReviewsAndMore.ca)
Steven R. McEvoy, BookReviewsAndMore.ca


What a gift to Catholic teens and their families! Each piece in this collection of stories revolving around St Patrick is a beautiful portrayal of the faith. These are wholesome, engaging, and inspiring tales from a variety of genres that will both entertain and spiritually nourish every reader who picks up this book.  
Katie Fitzgerald, ReadAtHomeMom.com

 

For more posts about the anthology, here is the Blog Tour Schedule:

March 5           Bonnie Way                            The Koala Mom                     

March 6           Leslea Wahl                            Ministry Thru Mystery

March 7           Carolyn Astfalk                      My Scribbler’s Heart

March 8           Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur    Spiritual Woman

March 9           Erin Broestl                             Eight Hobbits

March 10         Corinna Turner                        UnSeen Books Blog

March 11         Amanda Lauer                                    AmandaLauer.com

March 12         Sarah Damm                           SarahDamm.com

March 13         Barb Szyszkiewicz                  FranciscanMom                      

March 14         Theresa Linden                       Things Visible & Invisible

March 15         Steven R. McEvoy                  Book Reviews and More

March 16         Lisa Hendey                            LisaHendey.com

March 17         Catholic Teen Books               Catholic Teen Books

 

And you can read all the Author Bios below:

THERESA LINDEN is the author of award-winning Catholic fiction, including the West Brothers contemporary series and the Chasing Liberty dystopian trilogy. One of her great joys is to bring elements of faith to life through a story. She has more than a dozen published books, three of which won awards from the Catholic Press Association. Her short stories appear in several anthologies, including Secrets: Visible & Invisible, and Gifts: Visible & Invisible. Her articles and interviews can be found on various radio shows and in magazines, including EWTN’s The Good Fight, The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Today’s Catholic Teacher, and Catholic Mom. Her books are featured online on Catholic Teen Books, Catholic Reads, FORMED, and Virtue Works Media. A wife, homeschooling mom, and Secular Franciscan, she resides in northeast Ohio with her husband and children. You can learn more about her at www.TheresaLinden.com.

 

SUSAN PEEK is a wife, mother, grandmother, Third Order Franciscan, and bestselling Catholic novelist. Her passion is writing stories of little-known saints and heroes. All her young adult novels have been awarded the coveted Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval and are implemented into Catholic school curricula not only across the nation, but in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Saint Magnus the Last Viking and The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland were both Amazon #1 Sellers among Catholic books. The King’s Prey was also voted one of Catholic Reads TOP 10 BEST CATHOLIC BOOKS OF 2017 and was a Finalist for the 2018 Catholic Arts and Letters Award. Crusader King was featured as one of the 50 Most Popular Catholic Homeschooling Books in 2013. Susan lives in northeastern Kansas, where she can usually be found with her nose in a book, researching obscure saints to write about. Visit her at www.SusanPeekAuthor.com.

 

ANTONY BARONE KOLENC is the author of The Harwood Mysteries, an exciting historical-fiction series for youth published by Loyola Press. He is a long-time member of the Catholic Writers Guild, and his novels all have the Catholic Writers Guild’s Seal of Approval. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps after 21 years of military service. A law professor who’s had his works published in numerous journals and magazines, Kolenc now speaks at legal, writing, and home-education events. He and his wife, Alisa, are the parents of five children, and have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren. To learn more about The Harwood Mysteries and its author, visit www.antonykolenc.com.

 

AMANDA LAUER loves writing books—particularly Young Adult Historic Fiction—that portray the Church in a positive light and depict God’s children endeavoring to become the best version of themselves every day. A journalist and proofreader by trade, Amanda embarked on her novelist career with the award-winning and best-selling Heaven Intended Civil War series. A World Such as Heaven Intended earned the 2016 YA CALA award. Currently Amanda has several more books in the process of being published.

 

In addition to writing novels, Amanda works in the film industry writing and copy-editing screenplays. She was awarded Best Writer 2020 (Red Letter Awards) for her work as a co-writer on the movie The Islands. To learn more about Amanda, who’s lucky and blessed to be living in a world such as heaven intended, visit her web site: www.AmandaLauer.com.

 

CAROLYN ASTFALK writes from the sweetest place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. In addition to her contemporary Catholic romances (sometimes referred to as Theology of the Body fiction), including the young adult coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours, she is a Catholicmom.com contributor. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and Pennwriters. When she is not washing dishes, doing laundry, or reading, you can find her blogging about books, faith, and family life at www.CarolynAstfalk.com.

LESLEA WAHL is the author of the award-winning Catholic teen mysteries The Perfect Blindside, An Unexpected Role, Where You Lead, and eXtreme Blindside. The characters in this short story, Luke, Celia, Austin, and Grandma Grace, appear in her newest adventurous novel, A Summer to Treasure. Leslea’s journey to become an author came through a search for value-based fiction for her own children. She now not only writes for teens but also has become a reviewer of Catholic teen fiction to help other families discover faith-based books. Leslea lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and children. The furry, four-legged members of her family often make cameo appearances in her novels. Leslea has always loved mysteries and hopes to encourage teens to grow in their faith through these fun adventures. For more information about her faith-filled Young Adult mysteries, please visit www.LesleaWahl.com.

 

  1. M. GAOUETTE is the author of the Faith & Kung Fu series for young adults, as well as The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and For Eden’s Sake. She also contributed to the last two Catholic Teen Books anthologies, Secrets: Visible & Invisible with her short story “Sister Francesca” and Gifts: Visible & Invisible with “Just Jesus.” Her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the seal may be in process). Born in Africa, raised in London, England, Gaouette now lives on a small farm in New England with her husband, where she homeschools their four children, raises goats, and writes fiction for teens and young adults. A former contributor for Project Inspired, Gaouette’s desire is to instill the love of God into the hearts of her readers. You can find out more at www.TMGaouette.com.

CORINNA TURNER is the author of the I Am Margaret and unSPARKed series for young adults, as well as stand-alone works such as Elfling and Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon (for teens) and Someday (for older teens and adults). She has just released The Boy Who Knew (Carlo Acutis) the first book in her new Friends in High Places series about friendship with the saints. All of her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the seal may be in process). Liberation (‘I Am Margaret’ Book 3) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2016 and Elfling won first prize for “Teen and Young Adult Fiction” in the Catholic Press Association 2019 Book Awards. Several of her other books have been placed in the CPA Awards and the Catholic Arts and Letters Award.

Corinna Turner is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University, and lives in the UK. She has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell—which is legal in the UK!—but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan. You can find out more at www.IAmMargaret.com.

 

New titles Out Today!

I’m super-excited about the first one! Have you heard of Carlo Acutis? He’s being beatified next Saturday, 10th October. He died in 2006 at age 15 from acute leukaemia, and is considered the likely future patron saint of the internet!
My novella THE BOY WHO KNEW tells his story from the point of view of a 2020 teen who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia too. It’s the first in a planned series of quick-reads about saints (Friends in High Places), told from the POV of fictional teen protagonists.
 
Here’s the blurb:
DEAD? DEFINE DEAD.
 
“You have leukemia.”

“That’s what the doctor said. Mum and Dad are stressing out so bad, and taking it out on each other. I feel so helpless. Maybe that’s why I turned to Fr. Thomas. But he just gave me a Carlo Acutis prayer card, like some holy dead boy is going to be any use.
“Then again, what have I got to lose?”


Daniel’s just received the worst news a teen can get. The adults in his life are crumbling under the shock. In desperation, he turns to his parish priest for help and is introduced to a boy his age, Carlo Acutis—who just happens to be dead.
Daniel’s convinced the priest is wasting his time. But as he struggles to come to terms with his uncertain future an unlikely friendship develops between him and the holy dead boy—who may not be quite so dead after all.

The Boy Who Knew is the first title in Carnegie Medal nominee Corinna Turner’s new ‘Friends in High Places’ series. If you’ve always been interested in the saints but find dry biographies boring and hard to get through, this fast-paced story is for you.

Paperbacks and Kindle eBooks available from:

Amazon.com HERE.
Amazon.co.uk HERE.
 
Paperbacks and ePubs also available from Barnes & Noble and anywhere that sells books!
 
– + –

The second book out today is the little MANDY LAMB novella, THE WOLF, THE LAMB, AND THE AIR BALLOON. I have no plans to write an extended Mandy Lamb series at the moment, and was actually trying to write a short story. But it turned out short novella length instead! Enjoy!
 
 
Burb:
Against his better judgement, James agrees to attend the school fête disguised as Mandy’s friend’s dog. But problems soon arise that have nothing to do with the full moon. Will Mandy and James survive their day out?

This quick-read is a sequel to the novel Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon, a page-turning rural fantasy about friendship, trust, and courage—and not letting what you are define what you do. Those looking for a unique, challenging read will love these “animal yarns with a Christian twist.”
 

Paperbacks and Kindle eBooks available from:

Amazon.com HERE.
Amazon.co.uk HERE.
 
Paperbacks and ePubs also available from Barnes & Noble and anywhere that sells books!

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Treachery and Truth’ – Katy Huth Jones

I’ve been looking forward to reading this historical saint story, and I wasn’t disappointed. I really didn’t know much about King Vaclav (Wenceslaus), even struggling to recall the words of the carol, so it was nice to learn more about him.

I liked the characters, especially Vaclav and Poidevin his servant (through whose eyes the story is told). I thought telling the reader at the outset what happens at the end might reduce the tension, but as it turns out there is one more big twist at the end that is unexpected.

I did feel Vaclav was perhaps presented as a little unrealistically ‘saintly’ and could have come across more human. On the other hand, we’re seeing the story through the eyes of a freed slave whom Vaclav has taught to read and treated as a brother, so the aura of perfection/hero-worship in how Poidevin sees Vaclav is actually very convincing.

SPOILER ALERT

I had a bit of a niggle with the way the martyrdom was presented at the end. I seriously wanted to pin Vaclav to a wall and give him a lecture on his duties and responsibilities as a husband, father, king, and master. He seems to totally drop the ball on all those things, with catastrophic results. A Christian is not supposed to seek martyrdom, and I’d have liked to either see his stubborn determination to put himself in that position explained/made acceptable by him feeling a strong specific calling from God to do so, or I’d have liked him to be genuinely taken in by his brother (as was probably the case historically). Clearly knowing that his brother wasn’t necessarily to be trusted but doing it anyway came across as plain irresponsible.

My other niggle was that the focus on his brother when it came to his martyrdom really obscured his martyr-status. I actually caught myself thinking, after finishing the book, ‘Of course, he was a saint, but he wasn’t actually a martyr, because he was simply killed by an envious brother.’ And then I was like, ‘Hang on! He WAS a martyr, he was actually killed by pagan nobles who didn’t want a Christian on the throne, of whose number his brother was just one.’ So that really didn’t work well for me.

Other than that one scene, I really enjoyed the book. I loved how the author worked the events of the Christmas carol into the story, and the way she showed what it was like to live under the old pagan religion. After so many centuries of Christianity it’s very hard for us in the West to understand what such religions can be like, so that was particularly interesting.

Overall, a great read for teens and adults, and, needless to say, a great Christmas gift!

Get it HERE.

 

[I am acquainted with the author through an author group but bought my own copy of this book to review. Opinions are my own.]

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Anyone But Him’ by Theresa Linden

Anyone But HimThe title says it all! Caitlyn Summer has been saving herself for marriage, all through her teens. Then one morning she wakes up in bed with the school’s bad boy, Jarret West. If that’s not awful enough, he claims it’s three whole years later than she thinks it is. She’s not a teenager any more.

Oh, and they’ve been married for a year…

Okay, amnesia plots have been done a lot, but they’re popular for a very good reason! If you’re writing a suspense thriller romance, they really work! I was lucky enough to read this book prior to release, and I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed reading the final published version. It’s incredibly gripping, moving, and challenging.

The faith element gives this a fascinating and delightful dimension entirely missing from most amnesia stories. It’s also where the ‘challenging’ comes in. Caitlyn believes in the sanctity—and permanence—of marriage. But she never imagined a situation like this! Can she hold to her ideals, even now?

Combining suspense thriller and romance with a strong pro-life subplot, this is one not to miss!

 

Get it HERE.

 

[The author is a fellow member of Catholic Teen Books, but my opinions are my own!]

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Mermaid and the Unicorn’ by Elizabeth Hayek

The Mermaid and the UnicornAuthor: Elizabeth Amy Hayek

Publisher: Geek Haus Press

Publication Date: 7th August, 2016

This book is written by someone I know, but I bought a copy myself and wouldn’t be bothering to review it if I didn’t think it was good! So here goes:

This is a lovely, gentle read, in the best sense. But exciting too! It starts off at a steady pace and builds up to a thrilling climax with some very precious things at stake, through which another problem is very satisfyingly resolved.

The existence of the magical beings is smoothly reconciled with Christianity in a credible and inoffensive way and I liked the role played by the rich Christian symbolism of the Middle Ages.

I was particularly impressed by the subtle skill with which certain characters were depicted (with the exception of one small wobble). Also, although there were reasonably large groups of similar characters – a group of college girls, a group of nuns, etc.—by and large I was able to keep track of who was who, so this was handled well (I’m terrible at keeping track of large numbers of characters, so most readers probably won’t have the slightest problem at all).

The ending for the main character was, on a personal level, extremely satisfying, although unusual. The author mentions in the afterword that she considered changing this, but I’m very glad she stuck with it, seeing the whole book was working up to it, especially in terms of the MC’s character growth.

Fans of Regina Doman’s ‘Fairytale Novels’ will love this, or indeed, anyone wanting something gentler to read after my ‘I Am Margaret’ series! And the good news: there is not one, but two more books in this series already in the pipeline! Enjoy!

 

Get it HERE.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The King’s Prey’ by Susan Peek

kings-prey-front-cover-1_2Synopsis:

An insane king. His fleeing daughter. Estranged brothers, with a scarred past, risking everything to save her from a fate worse than death. Toss in a holy priest and a lovable wolfhound, and get ready for a wild race across Ireland. Will Dymphna escape her deranged father and his sinful desires? 

For the first time ever, the story of Saint Dymphna is brought to life in this dramatic novel for adults and older teens. With raw adventure, gripping action, and even humor in the midst of dark mental turmoil, Susan Peek’s newest novel will introduce you to a saint you will love forever! Teenage girls will see that Dymphna was just like them, a real girl, while young men will thrill at the heart-stopping danger and meet heroes they can easily relate to. If ever a Heavenly friend was needed in these times of widespread depression and emotional instability, this forgotten Irish saint is it!

I recently read (and reviewed) Peek’s ‘Crusader King’ and loved it, so I was delighted to receive a review copy of her new book, ‘The King’s Prey’. ‘The King’s Prey’ tells the story of little-known Saint Dymphna of Ireland, patron saint of those with mental illness. I hadn’t really heard of this saint before reading and I deliberately didn’t find out about her, so I read the entire novel not knowing whether she was a confessor, a martyr, a hermit, or what—which hugely added to the suspense of the story, so if you don’t know anything about her, don’t go and look her up, just buy ‘The King’s Prey’! It’s all the introduction you could need!

Although there was the odd hint of plot convenience here and there (characters making stupid-but-convenient decisions being the chief offenders) I could not put this book down. Peek interweaves what is actually known about St Dymphna (Princess Dymphna, in fact) with the fictional story of her companions, and others. I was gripped from the first chapter, desperately wanting to know not only what happened to the princess saint, but also what happened to estranged brothers Breoc and Turlough—and not to forget the wolfhound, Sam.

Some of the misunderstandings that take place between characters were absolutely agonising—and something I was totally not expecting happened part way through that eclipsed them all. Ultimately, I simply had to read straight to the end to find out what happened. It’s full of adventure, heroism, romance, and lovely characters, and it also gives a sensitive look into the world of someone suffering from mental illness. I don’t feel I can say more without giving things away, so I suggest you simply read it for yourself.

I would highly recommend this book to both adults and young adults. I think it is suitable for all but the most sheltered and sensitive teens, since although St Dymphna’s insane father wants to marry her, it is all handled extremely discretely and age-appropriately.

Get it HERE.

[I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The author is a fellow member of ‘Catholic Teen Books’ and the Catholic Writers Guild.]

 

BOOK REVIEW: Freeing Tanner Rose by T.M. Gaouette

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Tanner Rose is a wild Hollywood starlet, with a toxic, party-orientated lifestyle and no taste for quiet rural life or country pursuits. So for her, being sent to stay with conservative, quietly religious Gabriel and his mum is like receiving a jail sentence. Queue much culture clash, and a steep learning curve—for both sides.

I’m not really sure why, but my expectations weren’t all that high when I opened this book. I think maybe because it’s book 1 in the ‘Faith & Kung Fu’ series and I have next to no interest in Kung Fu. But I could hardly put it down. It was a gently gripping, and deeply satisfying read. And, I should mention, it turned out no interest in Kung Fu was necessary whatsoever!

I would perhaps have liked to a see a little more of Tanner’s interior life, so we got a better idea of how she moves mentally from A to B at times in the story (and maybe a little more of Gabriel’s thoughts and backstory as well) but it’s a minor niggle only. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series!

Get it HERE.

 

[I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.]