Faith and Kung Fu Series Packs Positive Punch

Faith and Kung Fu Series Packs Positive Punch

As “Molly’s” big sis approaches the teen years, Momma’s learning to look in all the right places for great teen/YA series.  I’m so happy to give 2 thumbs waaaaaay up for T. M. Gaouette (pronounced “gow ETT”) and her Faith and Kung Fu series which appeals to guys and gals alike.

The series kicks off with Freeing Tanner Rose. Tanner Rose is a 14-year-old starlet already well on her way to a life choked with the typical Hollywood vices. She’s put into a sort of rehab situation (staying with a college friend of her mom’s) when she meets the very wholesome 16-year-old Gabriel, martial arts lover and actively practicing Catholic.

Aaaaand they pretty much can’t stand one another. Gabriel keeps finding himself in situations where Tanner’s superficial personality embarrasses him to death in front of his friends. It’s such a antithesis to the typical teeny-bopper story where the geek gets made over by a cool kid and geek thus becomes popular.

I wish there had been books like this when I was a teen! I happened to grow up in a really, REALLY less-than-wholesome peer group situation, and I had no reason to believe there were any “good” kids my age ANYWHERE. It seemed everyone around me was a Tanner Rose. Now, I’m not going to go into any gory details here, but it wasn’t until years and years later that I discovered there actually were some kids out there who didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, etc. It would be so nice if every teen experiencing this feeling could read this book and realize that there really are kids out there like Gabriel and his friends. Check out this conversation between Tanner and Gabriel’s friends Faith and Nina, talking about Gabriel:

“He should totally think about modeling,” Tanner said. 

Faith snorted. “Don’t hold your breath. He’s not like that.” She noted the look of confusion on Tanner’s face. “It’s not that complicated, Rose. Gabriel’s not into looks. I don’t even think that he realizes he’s handsome. And he’s definitely not interested in dating. None of us are.” She turned and grabbed a large bag of chips from her backpack and pulled it open.

“Sometimes you have to exploit your talents before they disappear,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but Gabriel would say that looks aren’t a talent.” Faith popped a large chip into her mouth. “And besides plastic surgery, people shouldn’t be credited for their looks. That’s all God.” She tipped the bag toward Tanner who took a chip and ate it.

“But it takes an effort to maintain yourself,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but that’s different,” Faith said, looking at Tanner. “Personality is what really defines a person, and even a beautiful person can be ugly if they’re horrible inside, and vice versa.” She shoved another chip into her mouth and raised her eyebrows, as if waiting for a response. But Tanner didn’t have one ready to go. So they looked at each other, the sound of crunching filling the conversation void.

“Well, the people I hang out with don’t really pay attention to personality. They just care about looks and money,” Tanner said eventually.

“That’s too bad.”

“Why?”

Faith shrugged and wiped her hand on her towel. Her mouth was still full, so Tanner waited. Finally, she said, “Because those things just can’t compete against a good character.”

T. M. does such a wonderful job of making the characters so real and likable that, even wholesome as they are, I’d like to believe my teen-self would have wanted to emulate them. I love it that there is so much detail about the girls’ clothes. Teen girls love to read about what other teen girls are wearing, and the way T. M. contrasts the flashy, slinky outfits Tanner sports against the cute, modest way Faith and Nina dress will surely send the right message to today’s YA readers. Positive peer pressure!

Talk about getting inside a young girl’s head! Imagine you are a 14 year-old girl with a lot of insecurities and problems, away from your family and friends, in the home of a really good-looking 16-year old boy. You’re flirting, trying to act extra mature and worldly to impress him.

“So you’ve never…?” Tanner asked, looking up at him. He shook his head, his eyebrows raised in amusement. “Someone as hot as you?”

He laughed softly. “It’s dependent on looks? he asked. “Besides, you’re fourteen. You shouldn’t be thinking about sex, let alone calling boys ‘hot’ to their faces.” He shook his head and glanced out at the house. She was suddenly embarrassed and she didn’t know why. Shouldn’t he be embarrassed that he’s a virgin at 16? she wondered. But Gabriel showed no embarrassment or shame. In fact, she was certain that he seemed proud of it.

“Have you ever kissed a girl?” she asked.

“Nope,” he said with that same un abashed tone.

“Must make for some pretty awkward dates, ” she said with a smile. “You’ve probably broken a ton of hearts.”

“I don’t date,” he said, looking at her. Tanner was reminded of her conversation with Faith and Nina during their camping trip.

“What?” she said and this time she laughed. “Are you kidding me?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?” And then a thought crossed her mind and she added, “Oh, your mom won’t let you?”

Gabriel shrugged. “I don’t know if she would. I’ve never asked her.”

“Never met a girl you wanted to date? What about Faith or Nina?”

“I don’t date, Tanner.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s a waste of time and emotions..” He held her gaze and shrugged before adding, “I don’t want to get involved with anyone I wouldn’t consider for a future wife, and getting married is just not an option right now. So, until God opens that door for me, I’m not interested.”

Tanner let his words replay in her mind, and it surprised her how affected she was by them, and she didn’t know why. She didn’t know if it was because he had the courage to make such a statement or if she wished she had the resolve to make that same vow.

Burn! Poor Tanner.

Well, I won’t spoil it for you. Buy Freeing Tanner Rose to see what Tanner ends up doing, then get book number 2 Saving Faith.

Oh! and Book 3 is coming very soon! We can’t wait.

My daughter has also read and enjoyed T. M. Gaouette’s The Destiny Of Sunshine Ranch. Maybe she can be a guest blogger and fill you in on it!

I’m just thanking God for T. M. Gaouette and all these amazing Catholic authors of teen/YA lit. I do believe they will change the world!

Finding Patience: Winner In My Book

Finding Patience: Winner In My Book

Isn’t it great when you make a new friend?

The other day I realized that the author of one of my youngest’s (yep, the “Molly” prototype) favorite new picture books is a Seal-mate! I got to chatting with Ginny Lieto, fellow Catholic Writers’ Guild member and winner of the Guild’s Seal of Approval for her children’s picture book Finding Patience.

FHC-Cover-Lifesavers-Font-233x300“For children, it is difficult to wait for anything! Wouldn’t it be nice if your child or grandchild exhibited a little patience? Help is on the way! Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity–Finding Patience is a book for children ages 4-8; an age when patience seems non-existent! This book offers parents and educators a practical, yet entertaining way of introducing and reinforcing patience through the power of prayer. It is through prayer that Faith, learns how God works within her, in His time, to help her grow in patience.”

Like my Plaid Jumper, Finding Patience has a back-to-school setting (and uniforms!). It is a great read-aloud to kids ages 3-4 and up, and I think most 8-9 year-olds would even enjoy reading it on their own. This engaging story has darling illustrations by Carole Hahn Panzer and comes complete with every kid’s favorite thing: puppies!

I do have to say, there was a part that really grabbed me emotionally. Barely moved into a new house in a new town, the main character Faith had a hard first day at her new school. Due to her shyness she sat alone in the cafeteria during lunch. This is the scene when she gets home that first day;

“Faith sobbed, ‘Nobody likes me!’

‘No, no,’ replied Mama. ‘They just don’t know you yet.’

‘I want to go home,’ cried Faith, ‘to be with my friends.'”

The first day I showed up for cafeteria duty at the real “Molly’s” new school, I realized she’d been sitting there eating alone almost daily. That really hurts a Mama’s heart! But things got better for both “Molly” and Faith. It’s hard to not leak a spoiler, but trust me when I say that the end of Ginny’s super-sweet book is very clever! WTG, GF!!!

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Ginny is such an interesting woman. (I’ve met a ton of amazing folks in the Catholic Writers’ Guild!) Like my hubs, she hails from the Garden State. She left New Jersey for  North Carolina, and now, besides writing, blogging and public speaking, she teaches theology online at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine. Like mine, Ginny’s life has taken some wild career turns. In a former life she was an accountant. “I believe that God’s plan for me is far better than anything for which I could conceive,” she writes in her blog. Like a lot of great writers, she draws upon a rich, sometimes unpredictable, source of life experiences that includes career changes and big moves. But her leaving NJ was difficult. Blessedly, she has great faith and a strong support system. Ginny recalls the words of her husband Nick fondly, “I’ll go anywhere as long as I am with you.”

Awww!

Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity–Finding Patience is an absolutely wonderful debut children’s picture book by my new friend, the very talented Virginia Lieto. Seriously, that woman could write the phonebook and make it interesting! Follow her blog, FB page, twitter, everywhere you can find Ginny’s wisdom.

And definitely buy this book. Then share it with a good friend, just like my “Molly.”

 

Ways to follow Virginia Lieto:

Website: http://virginialieto.com

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2s5uR3Z

Social media links:

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112075609426695922253

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2s5jgSi

Twitter: @virginialieto

Linked-In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/virginialieto/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/virginialieto/boards/

 

 

 

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Librarians, Teachers, Parents Take Note

Librarians, Teachers, Parents Take Note
Quite often my inbox hosts a message from a Catholic mama that goes something like this:
On Aug 10, 2017, at 8:42 AM, mfree@email.com wrote:
Hello Jean,

Would you please forward to me a list of your recommended books by Catholic authors? I would like it for my own reference, as well as to offer it to the librarian at St. (pick one!) School.  Also, do you have a resource (list, website, etc.) for comparisons, like instead of reading that, read this book.  I would love to encourage my Catholic school librarian to promote worthwhile books to the students (not that Dork Diaries and the like are not worthwhile. HaHa!).

HA!!!!!

Well, my friends, there is not one place (yet) that can list all of the amazing page-turners out there written by faithful Catholics. But I have the following really useful list to get you started.

First off, as far as an “instead of this read that” kind of thing, keep your eyes on Cathy Gilmore’s Virtue Works Media, because Cathy’s big dream is to provide exactly that type of service. For example, instead of The Hunger Games, check out Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret from Chesterton Press, or instead of the Twilight books, look into Jennifer the Damned by Karen Ullo (Wiseblood Books.)

Now, an absolute MUST-TELL-MY-SCHOOL-LIBRARIAN! is what’s going on down in Florida with Lizette Lantigua’s  Good News Book Fair, a new and rapidly-growing traveling book fair for schools and parishes. Take a look at some of the photographs on her site, because Liz’s displays of books, posters, toys, etc. are beautiful and can even be customized for your organization. (IMHO, Good News Book Fairs should completely replace Scholastic in our Catholic schools.*)

And not to be outdone by Florida, five Texans have come up with Catholic Reads, an online service that offers a free subscription to newsletters with book reviews and hefty discounts on the reviewed titles. Similarly, author-run Catholic Teen Books offers reviews, teaching tools, author info, links, and more if you’re in the market for YA books.

Worldwide, one of the things we are doing in the Catholic Writers’ Guild is revamping our website to make it easier for readers to evaluate our titles and authors by age group and genre. Fresh from the CWG’s blog is this very helpful article which highlights some of my family’s favorite books: this article that would be VERY helpful to pass on to librarians and teachers:  CWG Blog Post: List of books .

Whew! I’m glad I finally stole a few minutes to put all this in one place. And, friends, I really appreciate your sharing this post. So, so many people will benefit from the information I’ve listed here.

Blessings!

Jeanie

*For more on that *cough* humble opinion, I have an article pending publication.

Moms-Of-Mollies: Mind-Blowing Books For Us, Girlfriend!

Moms-Of-Mollies: Mind-Blowing Books For Us, Girlfriend!

Sure, Molly McBride is a children’s book character and this blog mostly addresses stuff about kids and parenting and why we no longer go to the Columbus Museum of crap  I mean ART, and great children’s fiction books, etc. But sometimes I want to throw in some stuff for my GFs (and dad’s, too, of course!) Today I’ve got not 1, not 2, but THREE inspiring books just for us for grown-ups.

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https://thelionofdesign.com/product/once-i-was-blind-softback-book/

First up is I Once Was Blind, But Now I See with Kimberly Cook. Kimberly refers to the subject of this autobiography she co-wrote with Charles Picirilli as her “own personal Padre Pio” and, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but, yeah. You’ll see why after reading it! I Once Was Blind is the faith journey of a man who falls in and out of faith many times, but each time he comes back to the Church, he comes back even stronger. This man’s temptations and struggles have ranged from as mundane as cigarettes to as shocking as the occult. But the clear, humble descriptions of Charles’ personal battle with each of the hurdles he experiences is truly inspiring.  Be prepared for miracles!


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Next I’d like to tell you about Broken Brain, Fortified Faith by Virginia Pillars. This award-winning account of a mother’s “lessons of hope through a child’s mental illness” was difficult for me to put down, but my family started getting REALLY LOUD about dinner. (The burned pork chops were totally worth it.) This is one of those stories that won’t let you go. It takes you into some pretty dark places but blessedly shows you the light that is our God. Pillars’ writing is straight-forward, and the book moves at a good pace. Mental illness is hard to talk about, and that leaves many people feeling alone in their silence. Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is like a comforting friend who understands and shares that pain.


 

I’m gonna plug my brother’s book for my third recommendation because it totally fits in with these inspiring, faith-strengthening grown-up reads. Dreams Of My Eagle has knocked the socks off both me and *cough* the Holy Father! (Nope, I am not EVEN name dropping.)

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William David Schoonover (my big brother Bill) went through hell and back. Twice. The first time he was alive. Donna, his wife of 34 years, died an agonizing death of metastatic colon cancer. She was only 57, a full-blooded Cherokee Native American “non-religious” Hospice nurse, but she had a deathbed conversion while holding a rosary. A ton of mystical stuff happened surrounding her death, stuff I totally witnessed, Friends. Also, Bill discovered some manuscripts. Donna had been secretly documenting her dying patients’ near-death experiences for much of her career. This hair-raising, goose-bump inducing tale of golden eagles that appear, pure elemental gold dust that appears and disappears, and Donna’s personal words made its way to Rome. And back. And Pope Francis’s own personal notes are scrawled in one precious copy of Dreams Of My Eagle that is now locked up for safe keeping somewhere in Southern Ohio.

Twice, you ask? Oh, that. Shortly after Dreams Of My Eagle got published and Bill was doing the book tour thing, he dropped dead. He was coded on the street for 20 minutes before paramedics arrived and transported him to Kings Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, KY . There he went from blue-black dead to the induced hypothermia protocol to funeral plans in the making, to . . . now working on his second book. Rumor has it, the first line of this new book might read something like, “They froze me for 3 days, but it was warm in Heaven.”

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Coincidence? Power of suggestion? You decide.

Want to share with us some more inspiring reads that’ll renew our faith? Please comment below!

Blessings!

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Liberty For All . . . and a set just for you!

Liberty For All . . . and a set just for you!

Summer and BOOKS! I’m so honored to share these hot summer reads with all my friends . . .

 

chasing liberty trilogy promotion

Here’s the lowdown on the Liberty Trilogy:

A young woman named Liberty lives in a dystopian society where the earth has been elevated above man and the government controls everything. Moving from one trial to another—escapes, imprisonment, secret missions, rescues, 3D games—this action-packed trilogy follows Liberty to her final sacrifice as she learns that true freedom is within, cannot be taken away, and is worth fighting for.”

And the BEST news is: Right Now There’s a Giveaway:

Enter the Chasing Liberty Trilogy Giveaway for a chance to win the complete trilogy!

Need more Liberty? Click HERE to watch the book trailer for Fight for Liberty.

Books are available in paperback and as Kindle and Nook eBooks (other eBook options at Smashwords):

Chasing Liberty on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Testing Liberty on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Fight for Liberty on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Author bio: 

Raised in a military family, Theresa Linden developed a strong patriotism and a sense of adventure. She began writing in grade school and her passion for writing has never waned. Love for faith, family, and freedom inspired her to write the Chasing Libertytrilogy, a dystopian story about a future she hopes never becomes a reality. Her other published works include award-winning Roland West, Loner, first in a series of Catholic teen fiction, Life-Changing Love, and her newest release, Battle for His Soul. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Association, she balances her time between family, homeschooling, and writing. She lives in Elyria, Ohio with her husband, their three adopted boys, and a sweet old dog named Rudy.

Visit Theresa on Facebook, her blog Things Visible & Invisible, or on her website.

 

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This Place Is a Real Gem!

This Place Is a Real Gem!

Have you heard about Catholic Treasures?

‘Tis the season to stock up on your beach reads, no? So I have a GREAT idea. Check out this new online bookstore! “CT” officially launched March 28, 2017 with the promise: “Buy Catholic books directly at a lower cost than Amazon while supporting a faith-centered retailer.”Father Matt on the beach

“A traditional Catholic bookstore with an emphasis on spiritual classics written by saints and Catholic novels written by contemporary authors,” the site is very easy to use and clearly organized by subject, and there is a nice children’s section as well. I immediately spied some of our family favorites such as The Father Brown Reader and My Path To Heaven as well as, well, you know! (Yep, they’re running a great sale on MMPH AND MMPJ right now!)

Although Catholic Treasures is owned and operated by Tumblar House books, they have expanded into retail because, according to their site, “There is such a tremendous wealth of Catholic tradition that is passed down through books. We have a special passion for Catholic novels. There are so many great Catholic novels out there that deserve more attention!” I highly recommend Young Adult novel  Seven Riddles to Nowhere by A. J. Cattapan as well as The Birdface Series by Cynthia Toney. I spy a goldmine of authors on our family’s reading wish list! There are some Leslea Wahl, Carolyn Astfalk, AND Theresa Linden titles! Looks like I’ll be placing an order today.

Besides novels, dig around for all your favorite spirituality authors from the precious classics like Sheed and Sheen to contemporaries including Hahn and Kreeft. The site has a growing selection of films, too.

Other publishing houses represented at Catholic Treasures include Ignatius Press, Tan Books, Sophia Press, Pauline Books and Media and, of course, “Molly’s” home Gracewatch Media.