Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Katie Reads {3} & a giveaway!


I'm slowly returning to real life after spending most of July in the lovely state of Colorado (see some of the highlights on Instagram!).  While the to-do list before school keeps growing, trust me, I enjoyed the down time to read some great books this summer.  I've got six recommendations for you, AND a giveaway for a free copy of one of the best things I read this summer!

(FYI- the links for the books are Amazon Affiliate links.  That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  I will gratefully use it, probably to stock up on more books! :) )

Since I would rather be reading than writing long book reviews, I'll give you a grade and a quick run down.  Totally just my opinion based on what I like to read.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books or suggestions of what I should read next in the comments! (You can check out other book recomendations here: Katie Reads {1} & Katie Reads {2})


God Is Love, Pope Benedict XVI {A}
  • Can't go wrong with an encyclical from Pope Benedict.  I've been carrying this short, but information packed, letter in my purse for a while, reading little snippets at a time.
  • Pope Benedict writes on two major topics: how we love because we are modeled after God who is love, and how we love others in return because of His love.
  • One of my favorite parts was the solid theme of Theology of the Body and our dignity as God's creation that ran throughout the entire letter.  You also might find interesting the information about relating that love to social justice and our responsibility to care for others as a Church.
  • You can order a print copy through the link above, but in case you didn't know- you also can read all of the Popes' encyclicals on the Vatican website.
  • If you are looking for some quick and solid information about loving God and loving others, this book is for you.
These are the Sacraments, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, {A+}
(Also available as a reprint & ebook here These are the Sacraments)
  • In the 60's Fulton Sheen worked with renown photographer Yousuf Karsh to create a series of books about Rome, the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Holy Land that paired Sheen's stellar teachings with beautiful photography.  
  • Unfortunately the original books with large photos are hard to find.  I only have a small, low quality reprint of These are the Sacraments.  The text is the same, but someday I'd like to find one of the original hardbacks.
  • I'm still chewing my way through this one.  In typical Sheen fashion, he packs so much truth into his writing, using a style that is both accessible and full of wisdom.
  • My favorite part is how Sheen connects the nature and design of the Sacraments with text from both the Old and New Testaments, painting a picture of the intricate mysteries of the Sacraments.
  • If you want to understand more about the deep, rich meaning of the seven Sacraments, this book is for you.

Who Does He Say You Are?, Colleen Mitchell {A}
  • I met Colleen at a conference earlier this summer and heard about her upcoming book release. I signed up to receive a free preview copy of the ebook, and I loved it.  Colleen and Franciscan were kind enough to send me a free print copy so that I can give one away to you! (Giveaway at the bottom of post!)
  • Women of the Bible has long been a favorite study topic of mine.  The stories of the women in Old Testament was probably one of the first things that really helped me understand God's creative design and plan for us as women.  I've continued to read and study all of the ladies of Scripture, and Colleen's book is now at the top of my list of resources.  
  • After creating a Women of the Resurrection Bible Study for my small group this Easter, I wish I had this book earlier!  It's style would lend itself perfectly for group study, a book club, or discipleship.  It also would be perfectly suited to personal study and journaling.
  • Colleen chose the stories of twelve New Testament women, shared the Scripture, and wrote a personal reflection that you can tell is the fruit of prayer and time with the Lord.  She also connects the Biblical women's story to you in a section called "Who Does He Say You Are," includes an original prayer, and questions for reflection.  It's the perfect length and the perfect content.
  • Also- the print version is beautiful!  The cover is the softest, and the pages are on nice thick paper, which is so nice if you are an underliner/notetaker.
  • If you are looking for inspiration to discover and rediscover exactly who Jesus says you are, this book is for you.  If I haven't convinced you, read a free sample here.

Helena, Evelyn Waugh {B}
  • I've had several people recommend this book to me, and I am glad to have read it even though it was a stretch for me both in style and content.  I'm not an expert on 4th century Rome, so keeping track of all of the characters (and their multiple names) as well as the historical events that the book hints at was a challenge for me.
  • I did love the character of Helena and how she grew and changed, faced circumstances so unlike our own, came to faith late in life, and ended up leaving a legacy of belief.
  • It wasn't until about chapter ten that I really enjoyed the book.  Contrasting Helena's life with the journey of the Bishop in Jerusalem who had lived under persecution and now presided over the "circus" of popular Christianity was the best narrative in the story.
  • Evelyn Waugh himself called this his favorite book, so that is an endorsement in iteself. :)
  • If you are looking to get to know St. Helena or want to see a different view of the Roman empire, this book is for you.


The House at Riverton, Kate Morton {A}
  • Some of my book club friends and I were going to read this years ago, but never got around to it.  It sat on my shelf until a roadtrip to North Carolina required a stack of reading material.  This was a perfect choice after touring the Biltmore, and I finished it with vivid pictures of architecture and a grand house in my mind.
  • The story is carried by Grace, a servant who worked at a grand house in the 1920's, and continues through her elderly years.  The plot line bounces back and and forth through time, but in a seamless way that unfolds the story and is easy to follow.  Grace's perspective and work for the house and family becomes tightly intertwined with the three children of the family.  The closer the connection, the stronger the secrets, and the deeper the mystery.  After ninety-nine years of life, Grace has a story to tell about the House of Riverton, and you get to hear it.
  • If you like the aristocratic drama of Downton Abbey or period mysteries that are character driven, this book is for you.

Anne of Green Gables, Complete 8-Book Box Set L.M. Montgomery, {A}
(not pictured above, listened to through Librivox App)
  • Over the past month, I have done quite a bit of driving and decided to use my time wisely with some audio books.  A dear friend recommended the Librivox App, which shares public domain books read by volunteers for free.  (!) Audio books can be so expensive so this is an awesome tool to have available.
  • I read Anne of Green Gables as a kid, but for some reason never finished the series.  I'm remedying that now, and have already listened to Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island.
  • One thing about audio books is that you have to enjoy the voice of the reader.  The friend that recommended Librivox also recommended reader Karen Savage.  I enjoyed her style- she was a perfect fit for the Anne books.  You can find the first book with here as the reader here.
  • If you are looking for something light, whimsical, and happy, Anne is for you.

And now for the giveaway!  Enter to win your own copy of Colleen Mitchell's "Who Does He Say You Are!" I know you'll love it.

Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

44 comments:

  1. Sunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne Faye (easy, light read)
    Honey for a Woman's Heart by Gladys Hunt (a book of booklists!!!)

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    1. These are both new to me, Alicia! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  2. I have been really looking forward to reading Colleen's book and I love those Anne books! If you haven't read Kristin Lavransdatter yet, it is a must read for every Catholic woman.

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    1. It was so good, Jenny! And Kristin Lavransdatter is definitely on my list!

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  3. I just read Pax by Sara Pennypacker in preparation for the Global Read Aloud in October with my fourth graders. On the surface, the story was about the relationship between a boy and his fox, but it was really about choices, consequences, growing up and letting go. I know this is going to spark some really good conversations.

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    1. I've heard other good review of Pax! Thanks, Christine!

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  4. I just finished reading - Light over the Scaffold and Cell 18: The Prison Letters of Jacques Fesch. A book that is one of those "unputdownable" ones. It is heartwrenching, hillarious, touching and inspiring. A must-read!!!

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    1. Oooo, I'm intrigued. I'll have to look it up!

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  5. Katie! You rock. This is a great book!

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  6. My to read list is so long I don't know which one to read next either. But I second the recommendation to read Kristin Lavransdatter.

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    1. Totally on my list, Cheryl! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  8. The "DoCat" released at World Youth Day!

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    1. I saw that! I've used the YouCat and the YouCat Prayer Book a ton in Youth Group, so I'll have to look into the Do Cat. Thanks for the recommendation, Gem!

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  9. I just read the secrets of midwives and I really enjoyed it!

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    1. Oooo, my love of the show Call the Midwife makes me intrigues by this. Thanks, Laura!

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  10. I'm reading a parenting book that might be of interest to you as a teacher, it's called Its OK not to Share by Heather Shumaker. Super interesting stuff!

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    1. I just looked it up- Sounds really interesting! Thanks, Lenetta!

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  11. Franciscan SisterAugust 3, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    Dressing with Dignity by Colleen Hammond; this has been around awhile, but is ever so helpful.
    The Girl of the Limberlost is a perennial favorite; it is very old (1924?) but characterization is absolutely wonderful. Another by the same author, Gene Stratton-Porter, is The Keeper of the Bees. This is my new favorite of her works. My reading list also includes Kristen Lavransdatter. Hope to get to it soon!

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  12. Katie, Another book about St. Helena that I read recently was The Living Wood by Louis de Wohl. There is also much in the story about Constantine, her son. I think it is worth reading if you are interested in another story about her.

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    1. That would probably be good for me, Grete! I wanted to love Helena based on the premise and others' recommendations, but I think my lack of understanding of the culture held me back. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  13. Walking with Purpose!!! I love it! :)

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  14. Great suggestions! Thank you!

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  15. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, MD

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  16. Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson is a good one! Also, the Privilege of Being A Woman by Alice Von Hildebrand!

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    1. Love the Privilege of Being a Woman, Teresa!

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  17. I'm loving The Royal Wedding Series -fairy tale plots with real characters -struggles,flaws, and all, striving to find their path with faith leadin the way!

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    1. I've read several of them- Love that series! Thanks, Kendra!

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  18. I'm loving The Royal Wedding Series -fairy tale plots with real characters -struggles,flaws, and all, striving to find their path with faith leadin the way!

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  19. I bet you've read this but I just read Charolette's Web for the first time ever, with my 4 year old and we loved it! I did recently read The Girl On the Train and actually enjoyed it. Otherwise I read parenting books, most recent The Five Love Languages of Children.

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    1. Oh, Charlotte's Web is wonderful. Thanks for the other suggestions too!

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  20. Have you read other Kate Morton books? The House of Riverton was one of my least favorites of hers....because some of the others were SO good. The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden were best. As far as religious books, I really love Fr. Jacques Phillippe's book on St. Therese: The Way of Trust and Love.

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    1. Oooo, thanks Laura! You're the first to mention loving her other books as well. I'll add those to the list! And I've heard Fr. Phillippe is fabulous!

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  22. Lovely recommendations! How about Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon by Fr. Donald Calloway

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  23. I am getting a lot of great recommendations from your post and in the comments! My must read list is getting longer and longer :)

    Some of my favorite books that I'd recommend to you are: The Story of a Soul (an auto-biography on St. Therese of Lisieux), anything by Charles Dickens (but especially Oliver Twist), anything by Tolkien and CS Lewis, Harry Potter :), The Deluge by Henryk Sienkiewicz (this book is amazing!!!!), The Island of the World by Michael O'Brien (I'll never be the same after reading this book - absolutely heartbreaking and incredibly beautiful), and Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza (a Catholic Rwandan holocaust survivor's story). I could probably give you a dozen more but I better stop! haha

    Thanks for some more great recommendations!

    Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

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    1. This is a fabulous list, Jessica! I'm so glad I included this as the giveaway question, because I have a ton of new books to be on the look out for. Thanks!

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  24. Thanks everyone for your awesome suggestions! If only I could quit my job and stay home and read! :) And congrats to Lisa for winning the copy of Colleen's book!

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