Welcome to Leslea’s February update.
An online puzzle and giveaway, news, tips, and book reviews!
Each bimonthly update provides news about my writing, faith-based book recommendations for the whole family, and, to bring out your inner detective, I include an online puzzle.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month’s puzzle is about my characters and some of their romantic moments. See if you can match up the couple with scene. Click HERE to play.
1) Just a quick update on my writing and events.
I had the great joy of joining two of my Catholic Writers Guild friends, Andrea Bear and Jennifer Thomas, on their new podcast, Mourning Glory. This beautiful podcast focuses on loss and the grieving process. I shared how I’ve used writing after the loss of both my parents in 2022, and how I’ve honored them by creating characters in their honor. Link to Mourning Glory
To Serve and Protect was featured on the StoryTime Pup YouTube channel. Please stop by and check it out HERE!
I’m currently working on several projects. I’m in the process of editing two teen novels, finishing a short story for a new anthology, and collaborating with an illustrator on a new picture book featuring Bertie, the little red bird!
3) CatholicTeenBooks.com News
Here is the link to the newest collective Christmas story by CTB authors, Marie Keiser, Carolyn Astfalk, Antony Kolenc, Corinna Turner, and myself. Sit back and enjoy our newest creation as the authors read their individual sections of the inspiring Christmas story. Gift of the Angel Tree
And just in time for Lent, Ashes: Visible & Invisible is 15% off at Amazon during the month of February!
This anthology is a fantastic book for teens to deepen their Lenten journey. My contribution, Finishing the Journey, happens to feature the main character, Liz, from my newest teen novel, Charting the Course. And she meets an elderly gentleman who was inspired by my father.
In My Mother’s Womb by Susan Joy Bellavance, Fr. Bill DesChamps, Christine Schroeder, Mary Roma, and illustrator Dan Andreasen
What a beautiful book for families to understand the growing baby from conception to birth. Each spread in the book represents a week as the baby develops. Scientific facts, bible verses, along with the baby’s thoughts make this a perfect book for the whole family to enjoy together. The beautiful illustrations of the baby at each week of life adds so much to this book. This would be a wonderful gift for families expecting a new baby, or a valuable tool to impress upon children that life begins at conception.
Armor of God series by Theresa Linden
Theresa Linden’s Armor of God series is a wonderful collection of children’s stories about the virtue of truthfulness. This series may sound familiar as I’ve discussed it before, but the books have a whole new look with updated illustrations that appeal to kids. This series is about a young Knight-in-training named George. Through his adventures he must learn valuable lessons in order to earn the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Boots of Peace, the Shield of Faith, and the Helmet of Salvation. The books are engaging and teaches powerful lessons of virtue in a format that children can understand. What a wonderful way for families to discuss virtues and life lessons.
Holy Mysteries!: 12 Investigations into Extraordinary Cases by Sophie de Mullenheim
One glimpse at the title of this book, and I was hooked. As a convert to Catholicism, I’ve long been intrigued by the many miracles and mysteries of the Church. While familiar with most of the cases, the book did include a few unexplained incidents that I had not yet heard of, but they are now on my radar to research.
Each chapter is a case study that shares a brief explanation of the mystery, as well as fun facts, additional information, and related scientific research. This book is written for kids but would be a phenomenal tool for families, providing an excellent tool for them to explore the incredible aspects of our Catholic faith.
The Centurion’s Daughter by Justin Swanton
Adventure, friendship, faith, love, and loyalty fill this historical teen novel. The novel is set in 486 during the war between the Roman Empire and the Franks, led by King Chlodovech, and is a fictional account of how one young woman could have possibly affected history.
When Amelia arrives in Soissons in search of the father she has never met, she has no idea how much her life will change. A series of right-place, right-time moments puts this young woman in some unusual situations where she uses her Catholic faith to influence history.
This was a time period I knew nothing about ,and while the fictional circumstances may have been a bit far-fetched, it was in interesting way to bring this time period to life.
Don’t by Gabriella Batel
Peyton is a young lady battling many things in her life. Her world has been turned upside down with the death of her stepfather, and the continued terror of being threatened by the hoodlums responsible for the heinous crime. She is doing all she can to bring justice and protect her family, all while battling for her own life as she’s slowly dying from a horrible disease.
I was quite impressed with this debut novel. The writing style is unique and reflects the tension of the story. The short chapters and intense story line made this one a hard book to put down. If you enjoy suspenseful, faith-based books, this is definitely one to check out.
The Interview by Karol Seydel
I was instantly drawn to this story—mystery, romance, and faith set in Rome. I was certainly not disappointed. This was such an enjoyable story full of great characters and plenty of intrigue. I don’t know what inspired the author but as I was reading the story over the last few months, the underlying premise of the story, about a Church in crisis, felt like parts of this fictional novel were unfolding before me. The Interview is a great story of redemption, truth, and never giving up on the Church that was founded by Christ.
The Life and Lessons of St. Zelie Martin by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
What a beautiful book about an amazing woman. I’ve been a fan of St. Zelie—the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, for awhile, so was excited to discover a book just about her. As a child, she dreamt of being a religious sister, but God had different plans for her. And what amazing plans they were, as she was the mother of one of the doctors of the church. She became a working mother and devoted wife. There are some wonderful lessons for all of us to learn from the life of this devout woman. Her life didn’t turn out the way she dreamt it would but listening to God led her on a profound journey. She may have looked at her life as ordinary but her extraordinary family has affected millions around the world. Her story reminds me of a quote I used in one of my books: Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.