Well, friends. I’m sure you’ve heard of an honor roll, and likely you’ve heard of a blog roll, but have you ever heard of a book roll?

You have now!

A suBook Rollrmountable number of books come across my desk each month, all with wonderful notes from the publisher looking for a review – or at least a nod – for their author’s hard work. Having myself authored three devotionals, four full-length books and now working on my fifth (due for release October 2015), I can appreciate the desire and need to get the word out about newly-published books. So, I’m happy to help.

The difficulty lies in not having enough time to give as much press to each book as it both deserves and as I desire.

To deal with the influx of books and “outflux” of my time, I’ve devised a Book Roll, which will be a periodic (read: when my desk is overbooked, pun intended) post that will list the books I think worthy of the publicity and a few words about why.

I hope you’ll peruse my Book Roll, and give serious consideration to purchasing the books and letting others know about them. The best advertising always is word-of-mouth!

So kudos to today’s Book Roll authors, and God’s blessings on them and their work!

When Saint Francis Saved the Church: How a Converted Medieval Troubadour Created a Spiritul Vision for the Ages, by Jon Sweeney. Publisher: Ave Maria Press, 2014. 142 pages. Hardcover, $22.

From the Conclusion:

The secret to understanding Francis and his spiritual vision is that what he did can never be precisely repeated. There is no mission plan or strategy of engagement that could duplicate what the first Franciscans accomplished. If anyone ever proposes to you a five-or seven-point plan for cultivating to spirituality of Francis of Assisi, run the other way. The Spirit inspires everyone differently. We can only make ourselves more ready to do what we’re supposed to do.

A fresh take on the life and work of St. Francis!

Renewed: Ten Ways to Rediscover the Saints, Embrace Your Gifts, and Revive Your Catholic Faith, by Robert P. Reed. Publisher: Ave Maria Press, 2014. 95 pages. Paperback, $13.95.

From the Introduction:

Our own time is a point of crisis for both the Church and the society within which she lives, breathes, preaches, and celebrates. What does this crisis require of us? Our answer to this serious question will determine nothing less than the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for this generation and the next. What we do will determine nothing less then the vitality of the Church in the first century of the third Christian Millennium.

… To be the Church is to be in community. It is blessedly true, that the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims at the opening of its twelfth chapter, that we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses,” those who have gone before us in the faith. This work reflects on the lives of some heroes of Christian discipleship through the centuries. These Saints are examples to us of men and women who, living in their own times, whether times of ordinary or extraordinary change, made incarnate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their own choices and in so doing built the Church they allowed God’s call to assemble as his people to be heard with clarity, simplicity, and joy. This was their project in the sight of God. They did it. And so will be, if we choose to incarnate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our own time.

Well-written and insightful.

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, by Jean M. Heimann. Publisher: Servant Books. 95 pages. Paperback, $13.99.

From the Conclusion:

Each of us is personally called not only to imitate the Saints in holiness, but to become saints ourselves. That call from our Creator is happening now, at this very moment, not at some future time in our lives. Created in God’s unique likeness and image, we are loved infinitely, and it is this unconditional love that spurs us on to become more like him each day. On the journey through this life, God has gifted us with the Saints as spiritual companions for inspiration and imitation; they stir our souls into action so we can fulfill our primary purpose in this life – to know, love, and to serve God with our whole hearts, our whole minds, and our whole souls and to attain happiness with him for all eternity in the next life. God desires this goal for us even more than we do, and he never asks us to do something without providing the means. While it can be challenging to live up to our ideals, we can certainly find inspiration in our lives through the communion of saints – those living on the earth, who provide us with their love and support, and those in heaven.

An inspirational and motivational yet down-to-earth look at the virtues, the Saints, and how they can change our lives – now and for eternity!

The Grace of Yes, by Lisa M.Hendey. Publisher: Ave Maria Press, 2014. Paperback: $15.95.

From the Preface:

My hope for the exploration of the eight virtues around which this book is built is that you claim a new the faith-inspired yeses of your own life. I hope you share my delights and fascination with God’s loving hand at work in our lives. But let’s allow our marveling to be only the first step in a long process. A true yes to God means moving from profound recognition and delight to lasting, steady commitment, even when we doubt, fear, or simply feel exhausted.

Generous living entails both openness to God’s plan and a plan of our own. We each need a plan for total engagement in the virtues that lie at the heart of generous living: belief, generativity, creativity, integrity, humility, vulnerability, saying no, and rebirth. I hope that recognizing and seizing the grace of yes in your life will be a gift for you, as it has been for me, and will help you get started – for the first time or once again – on the sacred path of generosity

An excellent book of encouragement and sound advice for saying both “yes” and “no” in our lives – to God’s will, and to our own desires.

Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood, by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak. Publisher: Ave Maria Press, 2014. 230 pages. Paperback: $16.95.

Throughout Then Comes Baby,we present the most up-to-date available information on child rearing in a way that encourages your Catholic faith to shine in your heart and your home. Part one offers general tips on getting your family off to a good start and laying the foundation for a great Catholic family. Our Church has an amazing vision for family life, and we want to help you learn how to live that Catholic difference in your home while simultaneously being the best mom and dad you can be. Of course, parenting is a tough job, and it’s important to understand how God designed your baby’s brain and body to work and how to listen to the messages God has hidden in your son or daughter’s makeup so that you can cooperate with God’s plan for raising the best, healthiest, most faith-filled, and most enjoyable kid you can. To that end, beginning with chapter 4 we walk you through the changes your baby and family will likely experience from birth to three years. We offer specific guidance about caring for your child, your cells, your marriage, and the spiritual life of the family at each stage.


My husband and I have raised four children and have one child in heaven and there is information and advice in this book that even we hadn’t considered before!

Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels, by Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani. Publisher: Jericho Books. 352 pages. Hardcover: $24.00.

From the Introduction:

Some of us self-identify as orthodox (with a small o) Christians, while others feel a flush of pride when called liberal, mainstream, or conservative. Some of us used to identify as Christians or Jews, but now answer “none of the above” (or “all of the above,” as the case may be) when asked to choose a religious label. Whatever our spiritual predilections, each of us season and to the divisiveness and name-calling that to often surround discussions of the Bible.

As diverse as our voices are, they harmonize; and we hear echoes of our own stories and those of the “other.” We learn something new when we hear how a particular biblical passage sustains some people, while other folks continually stumble over (or are repulsed by) the same passage.

We see God’s spirit shining through each other’s eyes as we grant ourselves permission and a safe space to, as Edgar says in “King Lear,” “speak what we feel, not what we ought to say” – even (and especially) when it’s messy.


Eye-opening and intriguing. It’s one of the best books I’ve seen in recent history that helps us to drop her fists and open our hands in friendship to people who believe differently from what we do.


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