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It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads

For Eden’s Sake: Pro-Life Blockbuster Pending

We are so close, friends.

It’s been years since the Pro-Life Movement has made such great strides. Clinics are closing at record rates, and awareness hasn’t been this high since Roe V. Wade.

But we’ve still miles to go. And you all know my thing, of course. Redemption through reading, preach in parables, all that. I’ve found us the perfect book.

For Eden’s Sake by T. M. Gaouette is a pro-life story like I’ve never seen or read before: DAD’s side of the story. By alternating points-of-view between pro-life Isaac and pro-choice Rebecca, Gaouette masterfully gives a voice to the often-ignored victims of abortion, the fathers. Sometimes seemingly ridiculous in his passionate beliefs, co-protagonist Isaac’s behavior, through Rebecca’s eyes, gives us a glimpse into the minds of the pro-choice contingent. True, we pro-lifers must seem similarly ridiculous at times. But as readers come to learn the story of these young adults, as well as Rebecca’s father, her angry roommate Tess, Isaac’s loving parents, and a mysterious stalker, I believe even the hardest of hearts will come to see why such passionate faith in Life is the only truth.

For Eden's Sake

Even though the baby is conceived during a drunken one-night-stand, Issac is deeply regretful of his mistake and tries desperately to right his wrongs. As for Rebecca, there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. It is rare that a book moves me to tears. This one did it to me. It’s very compelling. The plot is suspenseful from the very beginning, and readers will wonder how God can ever fix the mess these two young adults have made. Gaouette has woven a truly creative and celebratory story. A pro-life blockbuster waiting to happen, For Eden’s Sake is a masterpiece and a must-read for every young adult.

Friends, pray with me that some Hollywood producer or the like will see this review and read this book and help us to reach more people and save more souls by making For Eden’s Sake into the beautiful film it deserves to be.

Coming soon: “An interview with T. M. Gaouette: Inspiration Behind For Eden’s Sake.”

Get yours here on Amazon, or visit the author’s website here.

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit is a series of children's picture books by Jean Schoonover-Egolf.
art, Molly Comics, Mothers of Mollies, Uncategorized

Happy Mother’s Day!

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OSV Acquires PBG content, including "Molly McBride" Series
Book Updates!, Molly Comics, Promoting Vocations, Uncategorized

“Molly” Meets New Publisher

OSV Acquires PBG content, including "Molly McBride" Series
Molly McBride series to be published by Our Sunday Visitor

Friends, I’ve had to keep a secret for a long time, but now it’s all out there:

Peanut Butter and Grace officially announced yesterday that Our Sunday Visitor, the largest English language Catholic publisher in the world, has acquired several of their titles and content, including my “Molly McBride” children’s picture book series promoting religious vocations.

The news that Molly was being sold to Our Sunday Visitor was a shock to me. Change is scary, and Peanut Butter and Grace has been by my side since almost the beginning of this journey. But on the other hand, I’m really excited. When I first found out the name of the company looking at my series, I thought, “Our Sunday Visitor? I remember their weekly newspaper on our porch and my parents reading it after Mass.”

Religious vocations awareness through children's literature
Sister and Molly have a heart-to-heart.

OSV has a huge reach, and that helps me in my mission, which can now be on a grander scale, to encourage Catholic parents and teachers to talk to kids about becoming religious sisters and priests. All of us here at the “McBride” household are looking forward to merging into the OSV family. Everyone I’ve spoken with over there is a gem.

You know, it’s always been my dream that “Molly McBride” would someday be a household name in Catholic families, a cute little reminder to plant those seeds early about becoming priests and nuns. Plus, she reminds us all to do as Jesus told us, to have the faith of a child.

Since OSV boasts an audience of millions of Catholic readers globally, it seems possible that dream can come true. I am so grateful for everyone who has helped me in this endeavor.

JesusWithMeWill the cartoon will be picked up by OSV Newsweekly There are currently no plans for this. But how cool would that be? One “Sunday” in the other “Sunday.”

Fellow authors, book stores, reviewers, and fans awaiting copies or even Book Four, I’m in a bit of  a “publisher limbo” at the moment. As OSV transitions over each new title, books will again become available. I’ll do my best to keep you all posted! Meanwhile, look right here for the next Molly comic on Mother’s Day.

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Wow! You’re already at Stop 6! Welcome to the blog of “Momma McBride . . .”

STOP 6

 

. . . also known as Jeanie Egolf.

Dr. Jean Schoonover-Egolf, creator of the award-winning  Molly McBride series of Catholic children's books.
Dr. Jean Schoonover-Egolf, creator of the award-winning Molly McBride series of Catholic children’s books.

I’m a retired Internal Medicine physician-turned-homeschooling mom/artist/author and the creator of the Molly McBride series. (Molly is a 5-year-old who wants to be a “purple nun” when she grows up, just like her friends, the Children of Mary sisters.) 

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What’s in your Easter Basket?

The award-winning series is loved by children ages 3-11 and the perfect introduction to religious vocations for both girls AND boys, since the other main character (Dominic) wants to be a priest. Click here to learn more.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Molly-McBride-Purple-Habit-1/dp/1944008209
Purple Habit

BOOK ONE is more than just a tale about attachment to certain favorite outfits. It’s really a FIRST COMMUNION STORY and always a huge hit as a gift for those second-graders on your shopping list.

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https://www.amazon.com/Molly-McBride-Plaid-Jumper-2/dp/1944008330/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=A2B82WZN9JVVXPTEF4ED
Plaid Jumper

In BOOK TWO, Molly is entering kindergarten and, in addition to her wardrobe dilemma, faces separation anxiety from her beloved “wolf-pet-named-Francis” plushie toy.

"Plaid Jumper" Wins SOA
Book Two in the “Molly McBride” series is awarded the Catholic Writers’ Guild SEAL OF APPROVAL

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
Party Invitation

BOOK THREE teaches children about the virtue of charity via the Gospels and a school bully.

"Party Invitation" vote best children's book of 2018
Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity was our hottest seller of 2018 and continues to delight readers young and old.

BOOK FOUR is scheduled to be released in time for Christmas 2019!

All are available at Amazon or wherever books are sold.

All of us here at the “McBride” house are happy you stopped by. Be sure to give Molly’s FB page a “Like” and even consider joining her group “Purple Habit People and Molly McBride Members” for up-to-date news on new releases and cute cartoons.

 

Important for scavenger hunters:

Clue to write down: ARMED WITH

Link to Stop #7 Click here

 

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Mothers of Mollies, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Moms of Dominics (Molly Moms Welcome, Too!), CCW19 Finds, and Spring Break Reads

Bringing books to the beach?  I packed (and loved!) me a little Linden, Peek, and Walsh this trip.

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Call me backwards, but I’d already had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Theresa Linden’s Battle for his Soul, the third installment in her profoundly popular West Brothers’ Series, a while back. So now I’m going catching up and here to tell you about book one in said series, the tale behind the youngest West brother, Roland.

Wow, wow, wow! But then again, Linden never disappoints.

Even though we are a household of girls here at Egolf U and the main characters of this series are teenaged boys, we are all huge fans.  Full of adventure AND emotion, this story has the power to deepen the faith of even the most skeptical of teenaged hearts, I’m sure. To boot, you may even learn about the life of a new saint! (There is one very awesome female character named Caitlyn that lends a beautiful little touch of the feminine to these stories.)

RW,L  was the second-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards in the Teen & YA Fiction. It’s the first in a series about Jarret and Keith, 16-year-old twins, and Roland, the younger brother by 2 years. . They’ve always been homeschooled (yay!) because their sorta-cowboy father is a sorta-archeologist. (I’m trying not to spoil too much, but, suffice it to say, exactly WHAT Mr. West does for a living is part of the suspense woven throughout the series. Mother died when boys were younger, sorry if that is a slight spoiler.) This year they are put in school. It’s a social heaven for the outgoing older brothers, but for shy, serious, (mysterious?) Roland, it’s a nightmare. And being a “loner” isn’t even the main conflict this kid faces.

Full of lovable and relatable teen and adult characters,  Roland West, Loner is one part Indiana-Jones-meets-the-Goonies, one part Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and one part miraculous.

Theresa Linden is one fabulous story-teller, folks. I actually got to meet her in person at this year’s Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, (couple pics below) where I made certain to scoop up more of her works. I’m already halfway through book two in the West Brothers’ Series, and I can’t wait to finish it and report back here at MMPH.

 

 


 

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Again, I’m apparently working backwards. Having loved Susan Peek’s The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland, I thought I was delving into one of her later novels; Magnus was actually her first. What a way to make a debut! This book has been very popular in Catholic teen reading circles for years, and I’m glad it made his way into my shopping cart AND my suitcase this trip. Continuing on the brotherly conflict theme, although Peek tells of Magnus from a teen boy’s perspective with plenty of action and gore, my teen daughter loved it as well.

I didn’t really know anything about Saint Magnus before reading this, and it’s a great book to incorporate into your Charlotte-Mason-style homeschooling as far as learning more about the Vikings and other world history of the first century. I really appreciate such well-written, exciting, (NOT dry) teen, tween, and YA historical fiction, not only for my students, but also for my own continuing education. Theologically, the book is marked with the Catholic Writers’ Guild Seal of Approval, so it’s been thoroughly screened. With loads of forgiveness and “offering up” themes, Peek dares to bravely go places most Christian authors seem to avoid these days. God bless her for leading us back to a time when people still recognized that our eternal souls are more important than our fickle flesh. I’m a better person for reading this book.


 

Stay Connected Journal by Tiffany Walsh

So, the hubs likes to tease me about my little habit of collecting books, especially when I buy a book about other books. But I REALLY want to share this one! And so now after all this teen-boys talk, here’s something just for us moms!

You may recognize the name Tiffany Walsh of Life of a Catholic Librarian if you subscribe to CatholicMom.com or enjoyed Ave Maria Press’ 2017 The Catholic Hipster Handbook. I had the honor of meeting both her and and another author (more below) involved in the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women series, also at CCWC 2019.  Now, I’m going to admit, I’m not a big “journaler,” but I really, REALLY like this one and here’s why:

Are you like me and have a sort of nebulous bucket list of books to read that includes the greats in Catholic writing? Walsh’s Exploring the Catholic Classics has provided us with a mini “easy button” this Lent, my friends! Sample and study, side-by-side with relevant Scripture and well-written reflections, selected passages from the writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Pope St. John Paul II, St. Francis de Sales, Thomas á Kempis, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and St. Teresa of Avila. It’s a spiritual goldmine of a collection in this pretty purple package, I’m actually finding it FUN to pull out a pencil and fill in the beautifully decorated journal pages. It’s a great Lenten reflection tool, one that I didn’t even think I needed until I delved into Walsh’s work.

Since I’m enjoying this edition of the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women so much, I’m curious to explore more of them. Pretty in pastels, wouldn’t these be as lovely as colored eggs in Momma’s Easter Basket (@hubs @kids)?image.png

Ok, so I mentioned another author. I first met the dynamic social media evangelist/author/blogger/speaker Allison Gingras of Reconciled to You in Lancaster, PA whilst attending the Catholic Writers’ Guild annual conference (which is held in conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network’s annual conference.) Been to anything Catholic lately? You’ve probably caught a glimpse of Gingras, too. My girl is ev-er-y-where, friends! And, yes, I caught up with her at CCWC19, and yes, she has authored one of these beautiful journals, the turquoise one, entitled 7 Ways that Jesus Invites You to a Life of Grace. Talk about the perfect Lenten or Easter gift for a mom, older daughter, or bestie! And don’t forget Invite the Holy Spirit Into Your Life (pictured gracefully in green, above) by Deanna G. Bartalini: this one makes a great confirmation gift as well.

Gingras and Walsh at GWM booth CCWC2019
Social media guru Allison Gingras snaps a quick selfie with “The Catholic Librarian” and co-author of the Stay Connected! Journals for Catholic Women (Gracewatch Media) Tiffany Walsh. There was a non-stop crowd of shoppers visiting the Peanut Butter and Grace Media booth at Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference 2019.

The best part of today’s blog is this: all the books featured here are but a sampling of what these great authors and/or publishers have available. I love that cozy feeling of knowing, as I’m nearing the end of a good book, that there are plenty “more where that came from” just waiting for me to sweep them up and add them to the stack on my nightstand. How about you?

 

 

 

Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

The Review I was Afraid to Write

Sydney and Calvin Have a Baby

I read this book “cold,” that is, I never once glanced at any reviews, summaries, or other potential spoilers. I had no inkling what this book was about other than the cover and the title. And, I admit, I didn’t really want to read it, figuring it was just another teeny-bopper “OMG she’s pregs!” story. Definitely not my cup o’ tea. So what made me pick it up? The author bio!

Here is this YA novel, put out by a Catholic publisher, written by a graduate of what is probably the most authentically-Catholic university in the world, with this rather shocking title that definitely does NOT look like the kind of thing I hand down to my daughters as “inspiring reading.” Curious. But I am here to tell you, this is not a book to be judged by its cover!

*SPOILERS a-comin’!*

Told as a retrospective account by (not-baby-daddy) Calvin, this is a painfully honest look into today’s Catholic high school culture through the eyes of a British student recently come to live in the States with family he never knew existed until the recent death of his single mother. Although he narrates the story of main character Sydney, a gifted social outcast who has been date raped by Calvin’s American cousin Josh, Calvin is the redeeming character in the story, a hero’s hero in every way. Thorne’s genius in crafting this “cursedly dashing British fellow” is the reason this (not really!) typical teenage tale, which could have potentially come off as trashy in the hands of a less-adept wordsmith, is worthy of high praise amongst diehard March-for-Lifers and Cafeteria Catholics alike. Similar to how Harper Lee used a child-protagonist/narrator to address volatile social topics in To Kill a Mockingbird, Thorne uses Calvin, a good-natured “foreigner” with an almost innocent bystander persona, to deliver harsh truths that might not sit as well with us coming from our own neighbors or family members. 

Calvin observes, “This particular Catholic school was one of those uniform-clad institutions that might make a pass at religious instruction here or there, but you’d probably never guess it if you walked the halls.” He relates a typical family dinner: “The three of them mumbled a quick, standard Catholic grace and began eating…” His perspective on the lackluster attitudes of American Catholic families comes off somehow less offensive to readers in the same way that Lee’s Scout could make racial observations no adult character could get away with in the deep South. Even so, it was pretty uncomfortable to read (one of) the (several pieces of terrible) advice from Sydney’s best friend Winnie on the topic of abortion: “Oh come on. Big Catholic school, oh no. Like we’re not all screwing each other and on the pill and watching our parents get divorced? Nobody cares about that stuff anymore. It’s not a big deal.” Ouch.

Winnie is not the only astonishly-horrible giver of advice. I was very surprised and sad at how Syndey’s beloved and trusted aunt, the adult she turned to for help, also let me, um, I mean Sydney, down. But then again, Thorne is telling a story that is painfully realistic. Parents, police, and even the school principal majorly drop the ball throughout, and a careless reader may call out Thorne on this aspect of the work, citing lack of good role models as a reason to keep this book out of the hands of our Catholic young adults. I admit this is something that had me dragging my feet a couple of days before I could recommend this book whole-heartedly to the Catholic community. But after letting it gel and rise and bloom in my heart for a night or two, I think what a mistake it that would have been, to not share this book!

I believe Thorne has heaped up such a high pile of mistakes and obstacles for our protagonist with good reasons beyond lending to a dramatic suspense the size of impossible: she’s fearlessly daring to illustrate our human fallibility. She’s shaking us all up a bit, saying even we grownups make mistakes, and we need to face it. Many situations in Sydney and Calvin Have a Baby are hard to look at, for young and not-so-young adult readers. And I’m sure many a Catholic mom-reader, as I did, will want to deny that a Catholic school could really be as bad as the one in this story, but I’ve lived this. I have to admit it really can be.

These harsh truths give Thorne’s tale power and credibility, for it is in contrast to such horribleness that we appreciate the profound goodness that exists in a character such as Calvin. Thorne gives YA readers a modern-day saint, if you will, that we can truly aspire to be. Oh! this book. It isn’t for the weak-of-heart, folks, but somehow I wish everyone would read it.


Adrienne Thorne is a Franciscan Steubenville grad who worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood until she returned to her first love, writing YA novels.

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Adrienne blogs here.

 

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Best of 2018!

Momma, Molly, and the gang just couldn’t be more tickled pink purple! And there were a TON of amazing Catholic children’s books published in 2018. I’m overwhelmed by the love.

Thanks to all who’ve been so supportive, especially those who’ve taken the time to write those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, etc.

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For the complete list of all the CR picks from 2018 click here: https://catholicreads.com/2019/01/01/best-books-of-2018/

Happy New Year to all the Molly fans out there! Keep “Momma” in your prayers so that I can put together a 2019 Molly book for ya!