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Reviews Written by
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)

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The Mostly True Story of Jack
The Mostly True Story of Jack
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Read, Feb. 25 2015
This is one of those books where the cover grabbed my attention. Not the current cover but the older version of the cover. There was something so haunting and yet intriguing about it that just grabbed my attention. And I am so thankful that I picked up the book and gave it a read. To be honest it was introduction to the writings of Kelly Barnhill but I know it will not be my last book by her. In fact I started a second as soon as I finished this one. While reading this I could barely put it down, in fact I read it in under 3 days and in three sitting.

This is the story of Jack a young boy who has always felt invisible, even in his own family. But when his parents are going through a separation he is sent to live with family in Hazlewood, Iowa to live with his aunt and uncle. And he no longer seems invisible, in fact everyone one seems to see him and want him for something. He makes friends for the first time with Frankie, Wendy and Anders. He is also beaten up by the town bully Clayton Avery. Clayton's farther MR. Avery is the most powerful man in town and he seems to have it out for Jack from the time he becomes aware he is in town.

This is a story about friendship, about healing, about magic and about finding your place in the world. Jack encounters each of those elements and as the story progresses it also becomes a tale about sacrifice. Sacrifice for a greater good, for those you care about, for friendship and for doing what is right even if it is really really hard.

This was a great read. I highly enjoyed it and can also highly recommend it. One of the greatest compliments I can give a book is my plans to share it with my children when they are older. This book is on that shelf waiting to be read again this time with them. Overall a very good book!

Manual for Spiritual Warfare
Manual for Spiritual Warfare
Price: CDN$ 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like it or not, you are at war!, Feb. 24 2015
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Like it or not, you are at war.

This book is excellent. To be honest I had no idea where to begin with writing a review. So I went back to the book and copied my highlighted texts from the introduction and first chapter to give you a taste. To begin with we have: "First, belief in Satan's existence and activity is today widely dismissed as an outdated superstition. As a result, most Catholics hear very little about him, leaving them unprepared to understand and defeat him. They need to know their Enemy and his strategies." Having been involved in university campus ministry for over 20 years this statement is true not only of most Catholics but also most non-Catholic Christians. From there Paul states: "The first part of this book lays out the biblical and theological foundations for our warfare with the Devil. The second part offers aids for the battle: Church documents, scriptural texts, words and anecdotes from the saints, prayers and hymns, and further resources for study." It absolutely lives up to that goal. I have already read this book twice and know I plan on reading it again.

One of the mail goals of the book sis "Our hope is that countless Catholics, and other Christians as well, will find this manual so helpful that they will carry it with them and make frequent use of it. For this reason, the book has been produced in a sturdy, compact edition that allows you to keep it handy and refer to it often." And I honestly believe it will do that. I have already recommended it to a number of Catholics and other Christians for I know it will be an invaluable tool in their life and ministry.

"Like it or not, you are at war." Every time I see this it stirs something in me. To be in a war and be unaware of it will only lead to failure. There have been many quotes about the church being a field hospital for wounded hurting people. This book can server as a weapon for those on the front lines, and those helping to tend the wounded. We are the army of Christ but our biggest responsibility is to support the field hospital. And on that same note "God allows evil because He's powerful enough to bring out of even the greatest evil a much greater good." God can work all things for our good and to fulfil his plans.

The last quote I will leave you with is from the end of the first chapter. "Meanwhile, our days in this life provide a season for God to test, purify, strengthen, and perfect us, making us fit to live with Him forever in heaven. To that end, the demons serve as useful tools for Him as they constantly test us by tempting us, so that we become purer and stronger and closer to perfection every time we resist the temptation." Those are just a few of the gems from the first few sections of the book. The Contents of the book are:

How to Use This Manual
Part One: Preparing for Battle

1. Know Your Enemy
2. Know Your Battle
3. Know Your Commander and Comrades
4. Know Your Weapons
5. Know Your Armor
6. Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

Part Two: Aids in Battle

7. Church Teaching About Spiritual Warfare
From Catechisms
From Church Councils
From Papal Documents
8. Scriptures for the Battle
Scriptural Names and Images for the Devil and Demons
Incidents in Scripture Involving the Devil and Demons
Scripture Verses for Warfare
9. Help From the Saints
Words From the Saints
Spiritual Warfare in the Lives of the Saints
10. Prayers, Devotions, and Hymns for Battle
Prayers to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
The Blood of Jesus
Litany of Christ Our Champion
The Name of Jesus
Prayers to Our Lady, Vanquisher of the Enemy
Rosary Meditations for Spiritual Battle
Prayers to the Saints and With the Saints
Prayers to the Angels and to God for Their Assistance
Prayers for the Church
Prayers for the Family and Home
Prayers With Sacramentals
Prayers From Traditional Liturgies
Prayers for Strength and Deliverance
Scriptural Prayers for Deliverance
Hymns for Spiritual Warfare
For Further Study

I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone wishing to go deeper in the spiritual life. As soon as you pursue God and his will you will encounter opposition. This book will help you understand that opposition and strengthen you and provide tools and knowledge to stand against it. Be bold. Follow Chris and stand firm!

This is an amazing book you need to read it!

Stone in the Sky (Tin Star)
Stone in the Sky (Tin Star)
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story, Feb. 24 2015
I read this book about 6 months before its release date. It was an absolutely incredible read. It was my 3rd favorite read in 2014 out of 187 books. I have said it before but with every book by Cecil Castellucci that I read I am more impressed. This one was amazing. Literally I finished it and started reading it again at a slower pace to savor it because the first time I could not pause and raced through the book to finish the story.

One of the greatest strengths of Castellucci's writing is her strong female characters. In this case we return to the story of Tula Bane. I thought the first book in the series had plot twists and unexpected turns, this second part of the story make it look like a walk in the park. Tula is now a wandering human alone in space, trying to warn other humans and still intent on seeking revenge. But she is also finding that her path is a different one than she expected.

This story is a strange mix of revenge, love, family and some sense of redemption of justice. I know I plan on going back and rereading both books back to back again. The writing is incredible. It is an excellent read and if you have not picked up the first book give it a try.

Breville Juice Fountain Compact BJE200XL
Breville Juice Fountain Compact BJE200XL
Price: CDN$ 138.35
17 used & new from CDN$ 117.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price!, Feb. 16 2015
For those familiar with the documentaries Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2, yes this is the model Joe Cross used in his car while travelling across America during his 60 day juice fast. And I got mine about 2 months ago and have used it at least once a day since then.

The Benefits:
This model is durable
Easy to clean
Great price point
Large 3.3 inch diameter chute

The Drawbacks:
Pulp container is internal, to juice a lot you need to take a part and clean
Single speed
Centrifuge style with blade is much louder than other models

This is a great entry point juicer. It you are tight on kitchen space or like Joe looking for a travel model there are some serious benefits to this model. If you are not sure you will be a big time juicer and looking to test the waters, it is a fantastic model for the price point. As mentioned I have used this every day I have been in town since I got it. I have juiced a wide variety of fruit, veggies, and herbs. It has made some amazing juices and will get the job done and done well. This has been one of the best gifts I have ever received, and I am sure it will serve you well.

Fat Business Man: a cautionary tale
Fat Business Man: a cautionary tale
Price: CDN$ 5.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Open, Honest, Inspiring, Feb. 11 2015
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Few books that I have read have been as open, honest and transparent as Mark has been in sharing his story. Mark is able to objectively look back at the mistakes he mad, some time and time again, and say 'yeah it was my choice, my fault, I screwed up' but in saying that he has turned a corner and is now in a very different place.

This short biography follows Marc from his youth to the low point in his life. He shares his darkest secrets and biggest failures. He shares photo's that embarrass him, and stories he regrets. But he does so to show us that change is possible. This book clocks in at 65 pages and most of it is raw. Mark does not hold back, on analyzing his own mistakes, so that they can be an example to others who need to make changes in their own lives.

Once I got into it I could not put it down. Which makes it good that it is short and to the point. Mark's vulnerability is what makes this book most powerful. I believe anyone could read this book and come away looking at their own life in a different way, and looking for ways to make improvements. This book will motivate you without a doubt.

The Iron Trial: Book One of Magisterium
The Iron Trial: Book One of Magisterium
by Holly Black
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 14.43
38 used & new from CDN$ 12.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning to a new series., Jan. 18 2015
I must admit there is not a lot I have read from either Holly or Cassandra that I have not really liked. When I read their books most get a 5 out of 5 stars. But this book was in some ways more unique and enjoyable. Maybe it was the fact that it is their first collaboration? Maybe it was the fact that many would compare it to harry potter, and it is better, better writing; better story.

From the first words I could barely put the book down. This is the story of Callum, he lives in a world where magic is real. But many do not know about it. His father has raised him alone and spent his whole life warning Callum, how bad magic is and those who practice it. He has been raised to want nothing to do with magic. So when he is summoned to the Iron Trial to determine if he will enter the Magisterium to train to control his magical abilities, he does everything he can to try and fail, and fail he does or at least thinks he does. But that is not to be his fate. He is in fact taken on by Master Rufus to train along with Aaron and Tamara. Though an unlikely paring the three soon become a true team. But their adventures to get through the first year at The Magisterium only begin with the tests to go to the school.

As you begin reading these books you have a young hero, who clearly has set ideas about magic and its place in his life. Readers are also set up to lean towards some preconceived ideas about where the book is going. And then it throws you a big curve ball. Some of the unexpected turns, and character development is part of what made this such an exciting and engaging read.

This book was a great read. It was fun and entertaining and definitely left you wanting more. Which is very good because it is the first in a new pentalogy. The bad news is the books are coming out about a year apart so there will be a long wait for book 2. This is a wonderful read from two of the hottest authors in young adult literature. So check it out, you will not be disappointed.

The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series
The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing beginning of a trilogy., Jan. 18 2015
It has been a long time since a new author or series has seized me as much as these authors and this series. In the matter of a few days while travelling for work I read the prequel, first novel and short story between the first and second novel. These are riving stories that were very hard to put down. Now to be honest they are not the sort of thing I usually read any more. These were the sort of novels I read about 15-20 years ago when Anne Rice was at her peak and I was just a university student looking for distractions from studies. But there is something about the way these stories are written, especially this first novel in the trilogy, The Blood Gospel, which grabbed my attention and would not let it go.

The basic story is that an earth quake centered in Masada, Israel, unleashes a gas that kills hundreds. Sergeant Jordan Stone is there to investigate the compound used and trace it's source and eliminate the threat. Father Rhun Korza is there to run his own investigation. And Dr. Erin Granger is called in as an archeologist against her will, to investigate a tomb found hidden in the mountain. The three are the only survivors of a brutal attack that wipes out Stone's team of highly trained military men. The three flee, and are now on the run chasing clues that should lead them to The Blood Gospel a book supposedly written in Christ's own blood. The three must explore the past in order to try and save the future. But there are many hands at play.

The Order of Sanguines is a secret society within the Catholic church, they are sworn to fight the Strigoi, vampires, but they also have other secrets. The Belial are a group who work with the srigoi.

The three main characters are wonderfully written. You really appreciate the strengths and weaknesses each brings to the team. The story is face paced and high addictive. It is like a cross between Dan Brown and Anne Rice but better than either. It is a great novel and should prove to be an awesome trilogy!

Freeing Tanner Rose
Freeing Tanner Rose
by T. M. Gaouette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.77
5 used & new from CDN$ 11.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read cannot wait for next instalment., Dec 28 2014
This review is from: Freeing Tanner Rose (Paperback)
This is the second novel I have read by T.M. Gaouette and I have enjoyed both immensely. However the pace and intensity in this story was gripping. I barely put the book down and read it in two extended settings. When I finished this novel, I was really wishing for more. It was only when I went to do some research for the review that I discovered it is the first in a series called Faith & Kung Fu.

This story was a very intense read. From the moment Gabriel met Tanner Rose he was apprehensive and reserved. Gabriel and his mother live in the country, he studies martial arts and is a young man of faith. Tanner Rose is a very young Hollywood starlet who dresses and acts beyond her years. At every Turn Gabriel's patience and fortitude seems to be tested by this girl his mother has brought home. Gabriel and Tanner's mother were roommate in university and even though they have chosen very different path's Miss Ruth took Tanner in to try and help. Both Ruth and Gabriel have strong faith and personal practice. Tanner thinks they are just country hicks, and feels like she is being abandoned, punished, and neglected by her mother for pulling her from her party scene lifestyle. Will Gabriel's steadfast faith and strength help ground Tanner or will her wild addictive and self-centered traits rub off on him.

"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13)

The characters are wonderfully written. The solid honest ethical life of Gabriel and his mother in contrast to Tanner and her Hollywood shenanigans is a stunning look at faith in the midst of modern life and culture. The story was compelling and an absolute page turner. I can highly recommend it. It is one of the best Christian Fiction stories I have read in years, and one of the best Catholic Fiction stories for young adults I have ever read. In many ways it reminds me of Regina Doman's writings. Good solid writing crafted into an awesome story. Freeing Tanner Rose is to be the first of four books in the Faith & Kung Fu series. And I cannot wait to read the next instalment. It was an excellent read.

Ring of Time: Tales of a Time-Traveling Historian in the Roman Empire
Ring of Time: Tales of a Time-Traveling Historian in the Roman Empire
Price: CDN$ 4.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall into a wonderful story., Dec 22 2014
I must be honest and state that I absolutely love Andrew M. Seddon's Saints Alive Volume I - Saints of Empire and Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths so when I had the chance to receive a review copy of his latest novel Ring Of Time I was thrilled. The book did not disappoint. Seddon has a stunning ability to take readers into the past but learn lessons they can apply daily in their lives. Some books I devour, and go back and reread, others I read and the seldom come to mind again. This book I had to take my time with, to savor, taste and wait and come back to it again. If this book were a meal it would be a rare dining experience, intended to be relished and recalled fondly again and again.

Set in the 27th century, it is a series of stories told to us by Dr. Robert Cragg, he is the first time-travelling historian. Humanity has reached new heights of technology, they can send someone back in time and retrieve them. Suffering from the loss of his daughter and wife, he volunteer's to be the first to test this new technology, in fact he becomes famous as a time-travelling historian. He is running from his pain and loss into ancient Rome. But instead of encountering dry dusty stories he finds people, many of who he comes to care about and even a few love. The places and time's he visits are:

The Ghosts of Kourion, Cyprus, AD 365
Tyndareus and Krikor, At Sea, 15 BC
Moonrise over Metzada, Judea, AD 74
The Slipper of Sulpicia Lepidina, Britain, AD 103
Dust of Caesar, Italy, AD 79
Eudaimon, Egypt, AD 132
Asellina's Last Fight, Britain, AD 84
Doctoral Dissertation, Rome, AD 113
In the Mists of Britain, Britain, AD 62
Kobrinia, Britain, AD 257
The Arms of Venus, Melos (undated)
The Philosopher's Ring, Egypt, AD 415
But bouncing around time seems to be taking a toll on his health and he knows his number of trips to the past is dwindling. He must make some decisions about the past and about his future. He has had the pleasure of walking the sands of time and he has interacted with commoners, nobility, sailors, businessmen, zealots, legionaries, druids, gladiatrix and philosophers and through it all, he finds people he can interact with, learn from and he finds he enjoys the past more than the present. . For Robert the past is not dead and gone, but alive. More alive than he ever expected to feel after all he has lost.

The story is wonderfully written, not only does the past come alive for Robert, but for us the readers also. It is an incredible read and one of the best books of the more than 115 I have read so far this year and one of the best of the past few years. It is an excellent read!

Well done Andrew well done.

Toadally Primal Smoothies: 150 Nourishing Real Food Smoothie Recipes
Toadally Primal Smoothies: 150 Nourishing Real Food Smoothie Recipes
Price: CDN$ 3.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection., Dec 8 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Todd has created an incredible primal smoothie book. It is ever growing with more recipes. It has an awesome index, and some ingredients I know you will never have thought to put into a smoothie. There will be enough variety that no matter your personal taste you will find many new and wonderful beverages. Todd takes us through the process from choosing ingredients to the finished product. The categories of smoothies are:

Low Carb
Almond Milk
Odds & Ends

With over 100 recipes currently it is an amazing collection. I have tried about 20 so far, a few not to my liking based on my preferences, but all of them were nutritious and well worth trying. I have a found a few that are new favorites including The Mint N Kale, Tropical Protein Boost and Papaya Avacado Coconut. Each recipe is on a separate page with a color photo, ingredients needed, nutritional data and vitamin and mineral breakdown (See sample below). It is a great tool in your health and fitness arsena. If you're Primal or Paleo, it will be an amazing resource, if you're health conscious it will give you some awesome variety to try.

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