Monday, November 25, 2013

Black Friday blog: book shopping

I love Christmas, but I hate the Christmas shopping season. In my neck of the woods, Christmas decorations went on sale in August. August, blast it.

Anyway, realizing that, and that black Friday is coming up, I won't be doing a Thanksgiving day blog, and I don't have too much to add to my past blog entries on the matter.  However, if you want to know about cooking for 93, or the authors I'm thankful for.... you can check those out.

While I finished my Christmas shopping months ago (writers do it all year round -- write your own joke here) I understand that there will be an onslaught of people who are going to be trampling each other in order to get gifts for family and friends.

With that in mind, it occurred to me that this is going to be a great time to compile a list of suggestions to make your shopping lives easier -- if not for this Friday, then for the upcoming Cyber Monday. Some of these are books I've reviewed, and others are new even to me, but have come recommended to me. So, unless you're going to go out and buy some Darren Brown tickets, you might want to try some of these items below.

A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller -- of course I'd start with my own novel. It's surprisingly well reviewed, no one hates it (yet, give me time), where I take the war to Dan Brown, and every other nimrod who thinks they can write bad history in a thriller and get away with it.

Codename: Winterborn .... the "other" novel, also strangely well reviewed. Genre: character-driven scifi espionage. While on a mission to the Islamic Republic of France, Lt. Kevin Anderson's team is betrayed by the politicians who sent them. As the only survivor, Anderson must stop the senators involved before the next team is slaughtered on the altar of political greed. He's certain he won't survive, but he will make this sacrifice, for his Codename is Winterborn. I recommend this for all fans of Baen novels -- like John Ringo, David Weber, and even your straight up thriller writers, like Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, et al.

Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes -- if you've been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I loved this one, and I can't possibly recommend it enough.

Mind Over Mind -- The short version? "No, he's not crazy, aliens really are messing with his brain."

Greater Treasures -- Imagine the Maltese Falcon with dragons. Nuff said.

And, of course, there is an endless list of books I can recommend, which happen to be a different tab at the top of the page -- includes Flynn, Ringo, Weber, Thor, etc, etc.

Stealing Jenny, by Ellen Gable: After 5 miscarriages, Jenny is about to have a pregnancy come to full term... until a psychotic woman kidnaps her and chains her in her basement with the intention of taking the child for her own. I liked this one.

Now, as far as books I haven't looked at yet.... [Below the break.]

In Name Only: also by Ellen Gable. It's historical romance... which means you're already interested, or moving onto the next entry. 

Night Machines by Kia Heavey .... this one sounds interesting.  Almost Doctor Who-ish by way of Rod Serling.

Maggie decided to have an affair. No one needed to know. Not even her lover.
Who would it hurt, if Maggie decided to carry on a torrid affair in her mind? It would soothe her feelings, hurt by her husband's emotional abandonment while he investigates a disturbing new murder case. It would provide an outlet for the dizzying desire she feels for her employer. It would make her feel loved and appreciated and better able to be a good wife and mother. After all, it's not really cheating if it's only a fantasy. Right?
But Maggie loses control of the fantasy as lust becomes love, and things she believed confined to her own imagination are somehow known to her spectral lover. A harmless mind game spins out of control and threatens the sanctity of Maggie's greatest treasure – her family.

End of the road, by Amy Bennett: This looks like a fun one, a straight up, old fashioned murder mystery......Corrie Black, owner of the Black Horse Campground, hopes for a successful start to her summer season but the discovery of Marvin Landry, a long-time guest, shot dead in his own RV, along with $50,000 in cash missing, does not herald a good beginning… especially since the victim’s handicapped wife and angry stepson seem to have little interest in discovering who murdered him. Was Marvin’s murder planned or just convenient? And is the appearance of a mysterious biker with a shadowy past that includes a recently deceased wife merely a coincidence? Despite opposition from former flame, Sheriff Rick Sutton, Corrie is determined to find out who murdered her guest. But will she find out who is friend or foe before the murderer decides it’s the end of the road for Corrie?

Palace of the 12 Pillars -- Short version: YA Christian fiction. The long version .... is really long, please follow the link.

Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life... I think the title is self explanatory, don't you?

Fools, Liars, Cheaters, and Other Bible Heroes... again, self explanatory.

Hope for the Workplace - Christ in You by Bill Dalgetty. Drawing from extensive experience in business and workplace ministry, Dalgetty examines the challenges faced by Catholics seeking to live out their faith in today's workplace. Readers will discover practical tips for:
  • Dealing with a difficult colleague or boss 
  • Maintaining integrity and ethics in business decisions 
  • Seeking Excellence in one's work 
  • Balancing family and career 
  • Caring for co-workers 
Relying on Scripture, Church teaching, the writings of both Catholic and Protestant leaders, and fifty real-life stories of people in the workplace, God's solutions to these common workplace issues are set forth in a straightforward, conversational style. The author shows how we can accept God's offer to dwell in us and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to bring hope and transformation to our workplaces. "A very readable and inspiring book for busy Christians who need to overcome a compartmentalized life." Dr. Michael J. Naughton, Moss Chair in Catholic Social Thought, University of St. Thomas Christmas Special Price of $12.95, $2.00 off the regular price of $14.95 on

The Life I Dreamed is a Catholic, pro-life novel about a young family living out their faith and their beliefs despite many challenges. It is a story about the struggle to live out one’s faith and values, and about the importance of standing up for them as well. It is truly Catholic and truly pro-life, but at the same time it is a story that mothers the world over can relate to. The Life I Dreamed has been featured in Catholic Digest, on Catholic Lane, and has received the CWG Seal of Approval. This uplifting, yet realistic tale of living an authentically Catholic life in a harsh, difficult world is the perfect gift for any mother in your life. It is a story that entertains and at the same time builds up women in their vocation by honoring and valuing the true blessing that mothers are to their families and to the world. For more information and for book reviews please visit

White Seed. What really happened to the Lost Colony? One of the most haunting mysteries in American history - The Lost Colony of Roanoke - comes roaring back to life in White Seed!

By the Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World. As the Great War rages around them, wounded Lt. Robert Fitzgerald falls in love with Russian nurse Charlotte Braninov. Torn apart by illness and betrayal, they pursue separate quests that take them across a world convulsed by change. From the trenches of France to revolutionary Russia, they learn that hands of men can create a hell on earth – or, through the redemptive power of love, a heaven in which to truly live.

If you have something you'd like to suggest for gifting opportunities, please feel free to mention it below. Just keep in mind, I do moderate the comments, mostly due to a problem with spammers and schmucks from a few years ago, so if your comment doesn't appear immediately, it's probably because I'm not glued to the computer.

Good luck with shopping, everyone.


  1. Thank you for the idea, sir. I'm linking to your page with my own "Cyber Monday" page next week. Happy shopping, all!

  2. Hi, John! Great idea, and great list! I'd like to add my books to your list. They are a wonderful mix of suspense, explorations of human relationships, unexpected twists, and Catholic characters struggling to live out their faith. They are not sweet stories as they deal with difficult subjects, but they are uplifting. All four are stand alone, but preferred order is: Hijacked, Unholy Bonds, Opal's Jubilee, and a holiday novella, Christmas Hope. Thanks for allowing others to share on your blog!


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