Beyond Dead, by Jordaina Sydney Robinson

Beyond Dead: A Bridget Sway Novel (A Paranormal Ghost Cozy Mystery Series) by [Robinson, Jordaina Sydney]

Bridget Sway is dead. But she’s finding out the afterlife is nothing like she expected. First, she finds out she has to start a new job, and then, she finds a dead dead guy in her locker. And then she gets to go find out what the new rules for her new life, or – death, are.

As a result, Bridget quickly decides to team up with dead private eye Sabrina to clear her name and find out who is killing these dead guys. Furthermore, she gets into all kinds of trouble with her parole officer, Oz, and doesn’t know if her new dead friends Pete and Charlie are friends or the murderers – out to get her next.

This story sounded so implausible, that I had to take a peek. I could not stop reading. The twists on the afterlife are terribly clever. I can’t wait to see how they carry on in the next book. I love a good cozy and this series promises to be unique and delightful. Thank you, Jordaina!

Beyond Dead, by Jordaina Sydney Robinson is available at Amazon.com, currently $.99.

No compensation was received for this review. I did receive a review copy from the author.

 

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Joan of Arc – Dolls From Heaven

joan of arc, dolls from heaven

Just in time for the holidays, Joan of Arc joins Saint Therese Lisieux in the Dolls From Heaven Collection. Presenting the Catholic answer to American Girl dolls, each 18″ saint has her own storybook and accessories, which can also be ordered separately. These dolls are a great way to help teach your children, godchildren and grandchildren Catholic values and immerse them in Catholic culture.

Flaxen-haired Joan comes ready for battle, dressed in armor. What a role model for young girls today, who must fight to maintain their dignity and self-respect in a hedonistic culture. Joan’s commitment to the Sacraments, clean language, and decent living is refreshing in today’s culture of pleasure, foul language, and self-importance.

Joan’s cape, flag, medal and prayer card are also available. She also has a cloth body and moveable vinyl head and limbs.

Parts of Joan’s story appear on the Dolls From Heaven blog. So do parts of Saint Therese’s. We study the saints to learn how and become inspired to live better lives. What a fantastic tool to help not only our children but ourselves, to become stronger and more faithful Catholics.

Dolls From Heaven is a Catholic mom and pop business. Although most of the doll itself is outsourced, some of the product is manufactured by the Kiczek family, themselves. They are avid participants in the pro-life movement and practicing Catholics. You can read more about them and what inspired them to create Dolls From Heaven on their website.

Dolls From Heaven are special gifts. With Christmas coming up, now is the ideal time to order yours. Don’t forget Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, and Birthdays.

Joan and Therese are available here: Dolls From Heaven Shop

The author received no compensation for this review.

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Ben Hur

Ben-Hur riding on a chariot with the slogan "Brother Against Brother. Slave Against Empire."

Yup. Have to. Because I loved this movie and I have to shout it out. First of all, don’t listen to the negative reviews. Who knows what the critics are thinking? Maybe they’re as tired of remakes as I am. But this is more a new interpretation of the novel. The novel? Yeah, I didn’t know…

With Roma Downey and Mark Burnett as producers, you can pretty well expect an uplifting message. A few of the actors are celebrities here in the States, but it was refreshing to see so many fresh faces in the cast.

In case you are unfamiliar, Ben Hur is the story of a Jewish prince, at the time of Christ. Judah Ben-Hur’s family adopts a Roman orphan, Mesalla. They grow up as brothers and best friends. Due to his orphan past, Mesalla becomes increasingly restless, as he ponders his place in the world. His love for Judah’s sister is frowned upon by their mother, so he eventually sets out to join the Roman legion and pursue his fortune.

When Mesalla returns, he asks for Judah’s help in keeping the peace for the arrival of the new Roman governor. Instead, Judah protects a Jewish assassin, by taking the blame for an attempt on the life of the governor. An angry Mesalla betrays Judah to a long, slow death as a galley slave.

There is plenty of action. Judah’s escape from the galleys and near drowning; Mesalla’s battle exploits; the chariot race.

The chariot race. Possibly the highlight of the entire film. Even though you know how it turns out, getting there keeps you on the edge of your seat. The horses are fantastic and every precaution was taken to ensure their safety during filming. The actors insisted on performing nearly all the race scenes themselves, instead of letting the stuntmen have all the fun. The Roman Circus was a place of blood and violence, and the chariot race delivered. Even without fake blood spurting on the screen, there was plenty of gory death as charioteers were systematically ejected and trampled.

In the end, hatred and revenge give way to forgiveness and reconciliation, largely due to chance meetings with Jesus. As it should be.

Go see it today and support good, clean, uplifting filmmaking!

Currently in theaters.

 

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Florida – Making the Most of Not Enough Time

florida cranes

The Silver Bullet is coming up on her first birthday. With me, anyway. Last year, the man-of-the-place purchased a truck bed off Ebay, and decided for the price of shipping, we could go to Florida to pick it up and have some fun while there. It also provided an opportunity to test out the new-to-me truck, pulling the trailer on a long drive. She did very well, by the way.

truck, bed, trailer
Silver Bullet, carrying truck bed, hauling trailer.

Although the trip was way too quick and not scenic enough, (we stayed on the interstate) we were in a time crunch, to not spend too much time away from the abuelo. From Colorado, we made dry camp in a parking area outside Amarillo, Texas. The following day we stopped to have lunch at Cracker Barrel with my brother and his wife.

cracker bqrrel checkers

After our lunch date, we zipped along into Louisiana and stopped near some train tracks, where we could put the slide out and cook some dinner. Another early start. Another long driving day and we made it to Florida. We parked it at a farm, thinking it was the one we were headed for, but it was next door. Luckily the guys were friends and were very patient with our goof.

tropical palms florida

After picking up our merchandise, we treated ourselves to 2 nights in an rv park (which we got for ½ price with our Passport America Membership) and went to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. Had a great time.

harry potter dragon

While in Kissimmee we also did the brakes and enjoyed the pool at the rv park. Very much.  Then it was back to long driving days.

tropical palms pool florida

We zipped through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, getting introduced to boiled peanuts on the way – yum! Rivers and swampland were visible from the interstate, but we didn’t get off to explore. Sheets of rain slowed, and at one point completely stopped our progress for a while. When we finally emerged, we were grateful for dryer weather. Even though fuel prices were significantly lower in the southern states.

gas price mississipi

This would be a great trip to do again, sometime. With plenty of time to explore, and no torrential rains or potential floods to contend with.

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A Holy Year in Rome – The Ultimate Guide Book

A Holy Year in Rome

What better way to see Rome than with someone who’s loved living and working there for over 30 years? A Holy Year in Rome, by Joan Lewis makes me want to visit Rome again. Gypsies accosted us right inside the church last time I was there. In addition there were death defying encounters with traffic. Not to mention the endless wanderings thru tourist traps. Joan makes Rome come alive with fascinating people and colorful history. She also provides insider travel tips and advice.

A Holy Year in Rome, is subtitled The Complete Pilgrim’s Guide for the Jubilee of Mercy. It begins with a description of the book’s meaning of pilgrimage and shrines. Next comes a glossary of terms. Such Catholic ideas as jubilee, basilica, and cathedral can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, the author explains the concept of holy doors in simple language.

Ms. Lewis gives an interesting history of jubilee years from the first one in 1300, through the current one. She explains why Pope Francis called an extraordinary jubilee. She also points out the significance of the dates of opening and closing this jubilee.

A full chapter is taken up by a self-tour guide book to the 7 pilgrimage basilicas. It features the highlights of each, in an orderly fashion, from entering to exit.

Another chapter contains a history and detailed description of the catacombs and their frescoes, paintings and stuccoes.

One chapter offers a self-guided tour of the vatican city-state.

Yet another is devoted to a history and guide to the pope’s second home, Castlegandalfo.

The book concludes with 3 chapters of Rome-specific travel advice. Joan gives her readers insider tips on navigating and getting the most out of their Rome visit. She also recommends books and links for further reading.

I thank Sophia Institute for providing me with a review copy of A Holy Year in Rome. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

A Holy Year in Rome, by Joan Lewis

(c) 2015 Published by Sophia Institute Press

248 pages

Available from http://www.sophiainstitute.com

$19.95 paperback/$9.95 ebook

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