Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

19 Jun 2017

True Radiance, by Lisa Mladinich - Book Review


True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life, by Lisa Mladinich, was an enjoyable read! I approached 60 this year. So, I thought this book might offer me some insight in how I might grow old gracefully. As I opened the book and began to read, I quickly learned that Mladinich had other designs. She wants us to know that regardless of our age,

The second half of life is a time of building on the past, growing in virtue, and deepening our connection with God, the source and summit of all beauty. Our beauty is not fading; it’s getting more powerful. It’s having more impact. It’s becoming what it was meant to be from the beginning (p. 135).
 
How reassuring is that! What a powerful statement! Mladinich tells us throughout the book that our beauty comes from... Read more... 

31 May 2017

Gifts of the Visitation, by Denise Bossert - Book Review


Gifts of the Visitation – Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth, by Denise Bossert, is filled with virtue! I thoroughly enjoyed how Bossert took Luke’s accounting of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth and highlighted all the virtue contained within it (Luke 1: 39-80). Bossert devotes nine chapters to discuss nine virtues; so beautifully brought to life in her book. She brings a whole new, refreshing outlook to this passage. From Mary’s spontaneous yes, to her courage needed to fulfill God’s word, to the thanksgiving Mary expresses to God for entrusting her with such an important honor, we traverse with Mary to visit Elizabeth.

As a mother herself, Denise Bossert, correlates stories from her own life with Luke’s Gospel passage. She peppers her life’s stories; intertwined with the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. The reality of Denise Bossert’s life makes the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth that much more enchanting and meaningful.

Read more...


25 May 2017

God is Not Fair - Insights and A-ha's (Book Review Reflection)


"WOW" Moments 

The Month of May has been trying but also one of the most spiritually fruitful of my life.  After putting off a routine mammogram for nearly 5 years, I finally went.  The test revealed an enlarged lymph node - I am happy to report it was finally determined to be due to inflammation [You can listen to the MIRACULOUS story evolving that on this special episode of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras - it is NOT everyday one receives a favor from a Almost-Saint].
As the Lord, slowly walked me through this valley, Fr. Horan's words were equal parts comforting and inspiring. This was a time of acute awareness to pray always with urgency but without anxiety.  Here are some other "WOW" moments gleamed during that time from the pages of God is Not Fair:
  • We are not better than anyone else.  Regardless of what blessings God has allowed in your life, what talents you posses, or how you use them.  Additionally, those gifts that God bestows only bless you to the degree to which you use them; and more importantly recognize from Whom they have come.  Praise and Thanksgiving are powerful prayers.
For More WOW  insights from God is Not Fair ... visit ReconciledToYou.com 
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

22 May 2017

Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis - Book Review


I was long overdue, but recently, I finally sat down and read the classic, Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. Once I opened the book, and read the first chapter, I questioned what took me so long to get to this masterpiece, centered on man’s reaction to moral concepts and what it truly means to be Christian. C.S. Lewis begins with a discussion on Natural Law:

Whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently (p. 8)?
 
Hmm…that’s something to chew on! Lewis’ logic and common sense abound in Mere Christianity. Written during the Second World War, this book was aimed at helping people make sense out of tragedy. Lewis attempts to assist his fellowman in mentally processing the atrocity of evil acts, so prevalent at the time. He asserts that we, as Christians, are called to love our neighbors, of whom some of them might actually be our enemies. Yet, in war-torn England, in the 1940’s, how could it be possible to “love our enemies”?

Read more...

3 May 2017

Fatima, by Jean M. Heimann - Book Review


Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World, by Jean M. Heimann, is a wonderful book that chronicles the Fatima apparitions of the Blessed Mother, including beautiful glossy pictures of the town, people and churches of the area. Multiple apparitions occurred at Fatima, Portugal between May 13, 1917 and October 13, 1917, visible to three young Portuguese children from that town.

Most Catholics have heard the story of Fatima, possessing a vague idea of what occurred. In this book, Jean Heimann gives you an in-depth understanding of Mary’s purpose for the apparitions and the implication of her visit to the three chosen children. The story is riveting! I read the entire book in one afternoon!

My takeaway from reading Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World, is that... Read more...

27 Apr 2017

Back to Virtue, by Peter Kreeft - Book Review


In Back to Virtue, Peter Kreeft takes you into the classroom of moral theology, where you will learn why we need virtue to preserve human existence. For starters, Kreeft clearly defines the differentiation between virtue and vice. He discusses the cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, as well as the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Then, using the Beatitudes, he teaches us about each virtue that counters each of the seven deadly sins of anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth and the root of all evil, pride.

His words of wisdom percolate throughout this book. Here’s just one example:

If we can conquer everything except ourselves, the result is that we do not hold the power. 1
 
Once we learn that God is in control, and that He holds the power, then we begin to learn that... Read more...

3 Apr 2017

Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk - Book Review


Rightfully Ours, by Carolyn Astfalk, rightfully belongs on your “Want to Read” list! In Astfalk’s third Christian fiction novel, she introduces us to two teenagers: Rachel Mueller and Paul Porter. At the beginning of the book, when Rachel and Paul meet, they are only 14 and 16, respectively. Throughout the story, we see a deep friendship blossom between the two characters. As they get to know each other, we see that friendship grow into love, young love.

Rightfully Ours deals with the virtue of chastity head on; yet in a manner that would make any teen want to be like Rachel and Paul. These two characters serve as excellent role models for teenagers coming to grips with burgeoning love and sexual desire, contrasted against all that they have been taught concerning morals and virtue.

I found Rightfully Ours... Read more...

27 Mar 2017

The Virtue Driven Life, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. - Book Review


The Virtue Driven Life, by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., offers insightful information about the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, along with scriptural passages, simple prayers, and citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This gem of a book offers the basic information on these virtues in part I. He saves the best for last, though, when in part II, we learn some in-depth information on the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Part II also provides scriptural passages, prayers and citations from the Catechism, in relation to the Theological virtues.

I was most impressed with Fr. Groeschel’s insight into the... Read more...

14 Mar 2017

Picking Up the Wrong Cross


...The Gift of Receptivity...

...Personally, my receptivity feelers do not fire on all cylinders. Sure, I’m open to whatever God has for me as long as it is good, healthy, and includes very little discomfort. Unlike Jesus entering into Jerusalem ready to fulfill God’s Will, I spend far too much time avoiding God and his Will. Perhaps I am hoping that if I am really quiet and well-behaved, I will avoid whatever cross is lurking in my day. Ironically, my cross has become my fear of the cross. My focus is far too much on this false fear of the possible tragedy lurking around the corner, and in turn I lose sight the good things God has in store for me—in any situation....

...Holy Thursday Blessings...


All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Reflection part of the WINE Lenten Book Club #LentenWalk

27 Feb 2017

Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly - Book Review


I cannot thank my brother Ed, enough, for gifting me with Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly. This book was a real eye-opener for me! As human beings, we naturally resist happiness, and when we do so, we resist God, the source of all happiness. “Why do we resist God? Because deep down we don’t trust Him…deep down we think that God is trying to limit our freedom” (p. 214). Kelly tells us throughout the book that we need to become “the best version of ourselves.” How do we do that: by stopping the resistance.

Throughout the book, Matthew Kelly shows us how we can find happiness by tackling our urge to be resistant. Let me share with you just two golden nuggets, gleaned from reading this wonderful book, that I believe will make me happier – just a couple of things I can do to fight the resistance to be happy.

Idea #1: Prioritize Your Life in Accordance with God’s Plan


Matthew Kelly comments in the book that when he conducts his various speaking engagements, he comes across people he has met in the past. Since Mr. Kelly always brings up the concept of setting aside 10 minutes a day in prayer with the Lord, he always asks “How many days last week did you spend ten minutes in quiet conversation with God” (p. 53)? Read more...

20 Feb 2017


Cristina Trinidad visits A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on BreadboxMedia.com.  
We discuss a fabulous new book that I was sent to review 
and fell in love with How to Read Your Way to Heaven 
by Vicki Burbach (Sophia Institute Press)




All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

30 Jan 2017

Hijacked, by Leslie Lynch - Book Review of Catholic Fiction


Hold onto your knickers, because you are about to be taken on one heck of a ride with Hijacked, by Leslie Lynch. Ben Martin, undercover DEA agent, finds himself between a rock and a hard place after a drug bust goes bad, leaving him with a bullet wound in his shoulder and a need to escape – quickly! He sees no other outlet than a small plane going through pre-flight checks at a small airfield. The lone pilot should be easy to overtake, thought Ben – and away we go!

As Ben hijacks the plane, he learns the pilot is a woman, one Lannis Parker. As Lannis is forced to fly Ben out of harm’s way (by the barrel of Ben’s gun), the adventure begins; so too, a relationship, of sorts, between captive and captor. You see, the actual hijacking is only one-half of the story. Once the plane lands, Ben must keep Lannis captive for several days, so that she will be safe from the people after Ben. What follows is an examination of the human soul in relationship, one to another.

This story is filled with pain, as Lannis deals with her past, present and future, both during and after the hijack escapade. Yet, this story is also filled with... Read more...

18 Jan 2017

Virtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard - Book Review


If you are looking for a way to bring virtue to the workplace, without coming across as a “Holy Roller,” then Virtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard is the book for you! Right from the book’s introduction you learn that “leadership is character” (Introduction xi). Havard tells us that people obtain good character as a the result of perseverance toward personal excellence. So, how do we achieve personal excellence? We do so through the practice of virtue. Havard is a man after my own heart! He speaks my language; the language of virtue.

We perceive and interpret things through the lens of character. By strengthening our character – i.e., by growing in virtue – we improve our ability to deliberate in the light of reason (p. 70).
 
In Virtuous Leadership, the author deftly covers the major components of virtuous leadership; ... Read more...

19 Dec 2016

Most Highly Favored Daughter, by Janice Lane Palko - Book Review


Most Highly Favored Daughter, by Janice Lane Palko is salacious, intriguing and an all-around winner! If you are looking for a good book to read on a cold winter’s day, look no further than Most Highly Favored Daughter, set in Pittsburgh, PA during Super Bowl weekend.

Janice Lane Palko creates compelling, deeply fraught characters who lure you in from page one. Cara Hawthorne Wells, the socialite elite of the Pittsburgh area, finds herself in a real pickle early on in the book. Yet, Janice Lane Palko shows us that Cara is much more than a former debutante. Cara, a seeker of truth, demonstrates courage and integrity when faced with a sordid adversity. Cara’s sister, Sophia, originally comes across as the flighty, irresponsible sister. Yet, when adversity strikes, Sophia... Read more...

15 Dec 2016

Lessons Learned from The Prodigal You Love


When a BOOK is a Blessing


My son does not know if he wants to be Catholic. In fact he is not even sure if he even believes in God. When the subject comes up between us, my response, quite frankly is usually terse and accompanied with a tone much louder and more frustration filled than I intend it to be.  The result from the pain in my heart hearing his words which cut much deeper than he intends them to. I blame myself for his faith struggle, wondering what I could have done better or differently, and if it is now too late to make a difference.  Yet the truth remains despite my greatest efforts, or at least my best attempts at a greatest effort, my son is not sure where he stands with the faith that I love so very much.

For the Remaining 9 LIFE CHANGING lessons... CLICK HERE
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras, 2016

7 Dec 2016

8 Notes to a Nobody, by Cynthia T. Toney - Book Review


8 Notes to a Nobody, by Cynthia T. Toney, is a heartwarming, yet truthful, depiction of what it is like to be a teenage girl, coming of age. In Cynthia Toney’s tale, Wendy Robichaud, an eighth grader, comes face-to-face with some of the struggles that teens unfortunately face: eating disorders and teen suicide; feelings of inferiority and loneliness.

Read more...

30 Nov 2016

Find a Real Friend in Jesus, by Gary Zimak - Book Review


What a joy it was to read Gary Zimak’s new book, Find a Real Friend in Jesus. I had the opportunity to hear Gary speak at this past summer’s Catholic Writers Guild conference in Chicago. IL. He spoke of his journey and his decision to give his life to Christ. He did not make that decision lightly; it came through much prayer and conversation with Jesus. You may wonder, “How do you have a conversation with Jesus?” Well, in Gary Zimak’s book, Find a Real Friend in Jesus, you learn just how easy it can be to see Jesus become your best friend through conversation!

Gary Zimak tackles all of the potential obstacles that stand between you and your ability to develop a strong relationship with Jesus. He breaks down the walls and walks you through ten steps to building a better relationship with Jesus; a relationship better than the one you have today. Read more...

14 Nov 2016

Ornamental Graces, by Carolyn Astfalk - Book Review


Ornamental Graces, by Carolyn Astfalk, is a wonderful story, with interesting, compelling and authentic characters that you immediately come to love. Dan Malone, a tortured soul with a troubled past, meets Emily Kowalski, a young woman with dreams unfulfilled. Throughout this story, we see God at work bringing these two souls together time after time, until one day their relationship blossoms. From there, we see these two characters traverse through the journey we call life, with all of its ups and downs. Will Dan ever come to grips with the mistakes he made? Will Emily ever fulfill her dreams? And, will obstacles deprive them of developing the relationship they seemed destined to live?

Carolyn Astfalk takes you on a roller-coaster ride, with a story that you will not put down until you obtain the answers to these questions. This is truly a page-turner! While reading this book, I couldn’t wait... Read more...

24 Oct 2016

Doors of Mercy; Journey Through Salvation History - Book Review

Father Jeffrey Kirby, STL, does a fantastic job of describing God’s limitless mercy in Doors of Mercy; A Journey Through Salvation History. Father Kirby tells us of the six covenants made between God and man, and how in every instance man was unfaithful to God. Yet, through God’s mercy, we were evermore blessed. Father Kirby walks us through the covenants made between God and Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and ultimately though the New Covenant, Jesus. He tells us of the importance of the Prophets and the Church in God’s plan for salvation; a salvation brimming with Mercy. He gives special attention to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska who experienced visions from Jesus teaching her about His mercy.

Divine Mercy Message

I especially enjoyed Father’s Kirby chapter devoted to the life of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, and her Divine Mercy Message and Devotion. In addition to the dedicated chapter on Saint Maria Faustina, Father Kirby provides... Read more...

22 Sep 2016

Discovery: A Virtual Book Tour

By Jean M. Heimann
THE BOOK

I have to admit that while I enjoy watching science fiction films, I am not an avid reader of science fiction books, but I definitely enjoyed reading Discovery by Karina Fabian. In fact, I loved it! It is authentically Catholic – complete with saint quotes and filled with Catholic themes. Some of these themes include: mercy and redemption, evangelization, respect for human life, and surrender to God’s will.

Discovery is a gripping, suspense-filled science fiction tale that takes you on a journey into the unknown and the unexpected. It is an irresistible page turner! It grabs you by both arms and doesn't let go until the last page.  Discovery is an exhilarating, fun-filled read that contains all the makings of a great book. It has a titillating plot, complex characters, humor, mystery, and romance.

The plot of Discovery is intriguing. The Rescue Sisters, Sister Ann St. Joseph de Cupertino (Ann), Sister Thomas Aquinas Krueger (Tommie), and Sister Rita Aguilar (Rita) are part of a classified mission to explore an alien ship that has crash landed on an asteroid three billion miles from earth.

Read more at Catholic Fire.

Of Jesus Concealed

'In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host...