Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: "Come My Beloved"

Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship
by Ellen Gable Hrkach and Kathy Cassanto

When I was asked to review "Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship," I wasn't sure what to expect. I find reading "courtship" stories difficult because my experience of dating was so far removed from that ideal.

Yet, despite my hesitation, I found myself enjoying these love stories. Ellen Gable Hrkach and Kathy Cassanto asked a wide spectrum of couples to share their stories of how they met and came to the decision to marry. There are couples of all different ages, from different locales, and different backgrounds. Those who are familiar with Catholic writers will recognize the names of Sarah Reinhard and Regina Doman. It is a joy to read their stories. What all these courtships share is prayer to meet the right person before marriage and a commitment to live a married life centered on Christ.

That doesn't mean these couples didn't experience hardships along the way. There are times when the woman wanted nothing to do with the man at the beginning, but the man's persistence ultimately paid off. There are couples who had to struggle with being from different faith traditions and long-distance relationships and exploring a religious vocation before committing to marriage. There is one couple that married after both lost their spouses.

This book is an enjoyable read for anyone who likes a good love-story (made all the more enjoyable because they are true life.) I think that it's best purpose would be for teens starting to think about finding that special person. It would offer them hope and encourage them to seek to have a relationship rooted in God. This book gives me hope for my own children, that perhaps they can experience these types of relationships.

- Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Movie Review: Super 8 - PG13

In 1979, a group of kids making a movie witness a train crash.   When inexplicable events begin to happen in town, the main questions become :"what was on the train?"  and "why did it crash?".

The action and special effects are entertaining, the problem is with the story.

The story does NOT live up to expectations, what you'd expect from the previews and trailer.  The plot is very weak, and the story is mostly implausible.

Super 8 is super lame.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Music Review: "Forever Ended Yesterday" by These Hearts

There were 11 songs on the "Forever Ended Yesterday" CD I received to review.  
And I tried to listen to each and every one of them.
And I discovered something in the process...There are many ways, and various musical genres, through which you can express and share your Christian faith;  hard rock should not be one of them.  The lyrics were difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish, which negates any message that you may be trying to share.

As far as the style itself, you will likely enjoy it if you are a fan of hard rock;  It is better than most hard rock I've listened to, without the anger that is usually conveyed through hard rock or metal.

Here is one of the tracks:

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Review: Green Lantern - PG13

The Green Lantern Corps is a small but powerful group of warriors who protect  the universe.  Each Green Lantern wears a ring from which they get their power, and their mission is to keep intergalactic order.   

Test Pilot Hal Jordan, because of his fearlessness,  is chosen to be the first human Green Lantern.  A couple of other species of  Green Lanterns look down on him because he is human, and consider him unworthy to be a Green Lantern, but when the earth and the entire universe are threatened by the evil force of Parallax , it is Hal who must stop him and prove himself as the greatest  Green Lantern. 

The prevalent theme, which I found quite poignant, is that evil is powered by fear, but good is powered by the will; and that is where the Green Lanterns' rings derive their power from.    I couldn't help  but think of how Satan uses our own weaknesses and failings to lure us into darkness, and that our faith in God will overcome all.

The action was very intense, and the special effects were stunning.  I am hoping for a sequel.

Ryan Reynolds is perfect as the Green Lantern.

So far, my movie of the year...DON'T MISS IT!

Book Review: “The Invisible World” by Anthony DeStefano

If you ever doubted the existence of God, the supernatural, angels, the devil, or Hell, this book will give you pause. Not only does DeStefano give a compelling argument for their existence; he argues that the devil tries to convince us of their nonexistence as one of his tools to win over your soul. Within a general traditional Christian framework of doctrine that both Catholics and Protestants can agree upon, the author offers ways that an openness to the spiritual world will enrich your life.

Did you ever feel the need to pick up the phone and call someone, and it turns out they were thinking about you and/or really needed your support at that exact moment? Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night and feel something was terribly wrong, and pray, and find out the next day that someone you loved was in a crisis? Did you ever have a terrible tension headache and find out that a family member was in trouble? DeStefano calls this “The Haunt Detector”. It could be the Holy Spirit was speaking to you.

Did you ever escape an accident by the most unusual of circumstances? Your guardian angels were looking out for you. DeStefano discusses “The World of the Angels” in his chapter “Invisible Helpers”. On the other hand, are you wondering why you or a loved one has fallen victim to a terrible illness? The author explains this in his chapter “The Power of Suffering”.

The author discusses the nature of the Invisible World including God, angels, demons, the soul, spiritual warfare, grace, suffering, your eternal destiny, and finally how to see the invisible. DeStefano is here to tell you to be open to God’s presence, in its many forms. Don’t be an impractical mystic, but live your life, while continually looking for the little ways He is present to you. Don’t ignore your gut instinct, which is actually the Holy Spirit, guiding you on the right path.

You might not need this book if you have already been reading the works of great spiritual writers such as St. Thomas Acquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa of Avila, and St. Therese of Liseux. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the spiritual world for the general reader.

“The Invisible World” by Anthony DeStefano was published by Doubleday in 2011. It is available on at Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. For more information see the author’s webpage at www.anthonydestefano.com or see the video trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1foChLV7z7s

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - PG13

Captain Jack Sparrow reluctantly teams with Angelica, a mysterious woman from his past, on Blackbeard's ship in a search for the legendary Fountain of Youth.  One problem is that Captain Jack is not sure if he can trust Angelica; another problem is that they are not the only people looking for it.  

 Although the plot does not extend much beyond the search, Pirates 4 is very entertaining: The search consists of lots of action and some comedic moments.  There are also a couple of good plot twists that propel the story.  

My two nephews, age 13, really enjoyed it as well.   There wasn't any inappropriate content.

I highly recommend Pirates 4...you will definitely be entertained!