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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on
December 2003


Welcome to Talks To....
Faithful Fiction
Christmas Books
Marriage and Family Life Titles
Christian Living
Faithful Fifteen
FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Two Prizes

Quick Links
Welcome to
Welcome to the first newsletter.

We know this arrives in your mailbox as you prepare for the holidays. We hope you will give it a look now --- perhaps we have the perfect answers for some last minute holiday gifts --- and then save it someplace to refer back to when life is a tad less busy.

Our goal with this website is to share with you news about Christian books and authors. Through a mix of reviews, interviews and features, we will keep you in touch with the best of Christian writing.

But this is not a one-way dialogue. We want to hear from you in features like Word of Mouth, Poll and Question. This website is as much your forum as it is ours!

In the months ahead we will be sharing what you are reading. We also would like to hear what pastors are recommending to their congregations (see a link later in this newsletter for more about that). Are you in a Study Group or Book Club at your church? We would like to profile your group and what they are reading. See the link below and find out how you can participate.

We're so happy to share with you --- the latest offering from

Wishing you and your family all the best as we celebrate this Christmas season.

Carol Fitzgerald (

See more about having your group featured here! Talks To....
Each month will bring you interviews with prominent authors. This month's lineup includes:

PHYLLIS TICKLE: In the midst of a busy life spent writing, rearing seven children and running a farm, renowned author and journalist Phyllis Tickle has found that both prayer and the rhythm of the land frame her days --- and draw her closer to God. In this interview with's Cindy Crosby, Tickle talks about her life, writing and work --- and how she and her husband Sam approach the Christmas season.

PHILIP YANCEY: Philip Yancey admits that he's a reluctant Christian at times, "plagued by doubts and in recovery from bad church encounters." RUMORS OF ANOTHER WORLD: What on Earth Are We Missing? is Yancey's attempt to discover for himself why he believes --- and to share his insights with those who he says live in the "borderlands" of belief. Here, Yancey and interviewer Cindy Crosby talk about his most recent book, and how it fits where he is on his own spiritual journey.

GARY CHAPMAN: In this interview with reviewer Sean Fowlds, Gary Chapman discusses material from his latest book, COVENANT MARRIAGE: Building Communication &Intimacy. With its release, Chapman is striving to help turn the tide of divorce within the church by advocating a commitment to covenant matrimony rather than a contract mentality. He is on a mission to maximize marriages, maintaining that communication and intimacy are the means to achieving marital bliss.

JERRY B. JENKINS: Jerry B. Jenkins, best known as the co-author of the bestselling Left Behind series, has embarked on a new series, a trilogy that begins with the recently released SOON, a futuristic thriller. In this interview, conducted by founder Carol Fitzgerald, Jenkins discusses why he thinks religion has been so divisive around the world, reflects on his style of writing and the theme his books share, and talks about what readers can expect to see in the second book of the trilogy.
Our "FaithfulReader Talks To" interviews may be found here.

Faithful Fiction
SOON by Jerry B. Jenkins (Fiction)
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald
Paul Stepola, an agent working for the National Peacekeeping Organization, has been assigned to enforce compliance with the world government's prohibition on religion. He is determined to expose and kill underground religion --- until his life is turned upside down and he is forced to look at life in a different way.

BABYLON RISING by Tim LaHaye and Greg Dinallo (Fiction)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Michael Murphy is a scholar of Biblical prophecy, a field archaeologist who fearlessly hunts down and authenticates ancient artifacts from Biblical times. His latest discovery is his most amazing --- but it will send him hurtling from a life of excavation and revelations to a confrontation with the forces of the greatest evil.

THE JERICHO SANCTION by Oliver North and Joe Musser (Suspense)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
The sequel to Oliver North's bestselling MISSION COMPROMISED follows Marine Lt. Col. Peter Newman on a new high-stakes adventure in Israel, Syria and Iraq. Although there's less overt preaching in this book, North keeps his characters focused on their spiritual lives even when they're under the gun.

THE BETRAYAL by Beverly Lewis (Contemporary Fiction)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
In Book Two of the ABRAM'S DAUGHTERS series, Leah and her beloved Jonas are separated for half the year when he accepts a carpenter's apprenticeship in Ohio. They are confident that their love will be strong enough to survive the temporary separation, but never could they have foreseen the bitter test facing them and their families.

THR3E by Ted Dekker (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Kevin Parson is a seminary student who begins receiving threatening phone calls from a man named Slater, who demands answers to riddles about Kevin's past and wants him to publicly confess a secret sin. Unfortunately, Kevin has no idea what that sin is.

FLABBERGASTED by Ray Blackston (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Stockbroker Jay Jarvis is new to Greenville, South Carolina. After being dumped by his girlfriend, Jay goes to church to meet girls --- and finds an unlikely assortment of believers including a cute missionary --- who turn his perceptions of God upside down.

SISTERCHICKS ON THE LOOSE by Robin Jones Gunn (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
In this fluffy new novel from beloved author Robin Jones Gunn, an unexpected gift jolts Sharon out of her comfortable rut and across the Atlantic Ocean as she and her "sisterchick" Penny discover fun and fellowship in Finland.

A PERFECT DAY by Richard Paul Evans (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Following the runaway success of his recently published novel, Robert Harlan finds himself swept into a new world far from his wife and home. He loses track of the things he loves most --- until he meets a stranger who begins telling him intimate details about his past, his present and, most importantly, the brevity of his future.

THE LAST DAYS by Joel C. Rosenberg (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Osama bin Laden is dead. Saddam Hussein is buried. Baghdad lies in ruins. Now the eyes of the world are on Jerusalem as Jon Bennett --- a Wall Street strategist turned senior White House advisor --- his beautiful CIA partner Erin McCoy and the U.S. Secretary of State arrive in the Middle East to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. On the table: a dramatic and potentially historic Arab-Israeli peace plan, of which Bennett is the chief architect.

SHOOFLY PIE: A Bug Man Novel by Tim Downs (Mystery)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak (a.k.a. the Bug Man) is hired by Kathryn Guilford, who is terrified of bugs, to solve her friend's death. When Polchak stumbles into the mystery of how Kathryn's husband was killed years earlier, he finds himself on the run with his client from someone who will do anything to keep a secret.

IF I GAINED THE WORLD by Linda Nichols (Contemporary Fiction)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Lenore and Daniel have a cozy home and a wonderful son, a mirror image of his father. Lenore loves her life and wants nothing to change --- except for one thing. As innocent as it seems, her request is the beginning of the end, and their life together unravels. She takes little Scottie and begins her quest for meaning, purpose and a new start --- as far away from those bittersweet memories as she can get.

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP by Neta Jackson (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Thrown together by a simple twist of women's conference fate, this quirky prayer group discovers bonds of love that transcend earthly identification and prejudice. It sounds ideal --- until lifelong "good girl" Jodi Baxter faces a crisis that forces her to confront her faith.

TOUCHES THE SKY by James Calvin Schaap (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Award-winning author James Calvin Schaap delves into the timeless theme of clashing cultures that alternately alienate and intrigue in this probing intercultural novel.

HIDEAWAY by Hannah Alexander (Suspense)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Dr. Cheyenne Allison comes to the Ozarks to rebuild her life following her sister's death. She soon discovers that the sleepy lakeside town of Hideaway is filled with life, and she is more comfortable there than she ever thought possible. But what will happen when it's time for her to return home? And will the inhabitants of Hideaway find out who is responsible for a series of tragic accidents?

WINTER IS PAST by Ruth Axtell Morren (Historical Fiction/Romance)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Althea Breton has given up her title and a life of ease to serve the Lord. Called to nurse a very sick little girl, she does so despite her misgivings about the girl's father and his political ambitions. But once she has come to know and respect Simon Aguilar, her misgivings are much more serious: will he ever come to know real love?

Our Faithful Fiction books may be found here.

Christmas Books
SHEPHERDS ABIDING: A Mitford Christmas Story by Jan Karon (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Jan Karon's lovable characters combined with the sweet background of the Christmas season make this full-length novel one that is sure to delight her loyal fans.

THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald
Now a medical student in his third year, Nathan Andrews --- who first appeared as a little boy in VanLiere's THE CHRISTMAS SHOES, learns a number of important lessons about faith, blessings and sacrifice from two courageous young people who help guide Nathan through the darkest period in his life.

THE WINTER SEEKING by Vinita Hampton Wright (Fiction)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Mary Georgiana Reese must deal with her parents' divorce and her father's remarriage, her own recent breakup and her mother's battle with cancer. She is also confronted with her mom's reconnection with the Christian faith. Though Mary has little use for religion, she attempts for her mother's sake to understand this spiritual reawakening.

THE MANY LOVES OF CHRISTMAS by Thomas and Nanette Kinkade (General Interest)
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds
Christmas isn't about self-indulgence or shallow "good cheer" that disappears on December 26th; it's about love and giving. Thomas and Nanette Kinkade share their thoughts, memories and dreams in a book that honors the newborn King.

Our Christmas books feature may be found here.

Marriage and Family Life Titles
COVENANT MARRIAGE: Building Communication & Intimacy by Gary Chapman (Relationships/Love and Marriage)
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds
The Covenant Marriage program encourages Christians to exercise the promises and expectations of God's covenant love in marriage. In his new book, Gary Chapman shows how communication and intimacy are two of the most important aspects in developing a successful Covenant Marriage.

SHEET MUSIC: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman (Relationships)
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds
With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God's plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples.

TO LOVE, HONOR AND VACUUM: When you Feel More Like a Maid Than a Wife and Mother by Sheila Wray Gregoire (Relationships/Marriage and Family)
Reviewed by Lisa Cockrel
Sheila Wray Gregoire, a syndicated writer and popular speaker, helps women grow and thrive in the midst of their hectic lives --- even if their circumstances never change.

EVERY WOMAN'S BATTLE: Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge (Christian Living/Personal Growth)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Shannon Ethridge presents a frank discussion of women's struggles with sexual sin and how activities such as engaging in a fantasy life and becoming emotionally attached to another man can undermine a woman's fidelity to her husband.

DEBT-PROOF YOUR MARRIAGE: How to Achieve Financial Harmony by Mary Hunt (Personal Finance/Love and Marriage)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
No matter what your financial situation looks like right now, you and your spouse can take steps toward being debt-free --- and strengthen your marriage in the process. In this highly practical book, Mary Hunt helps you bring the principles of intimacy, the foundation for harmony and debt-free living, into money management.
Our Marriage and Family Life books may be found here.

Christian Living
RUMORS OF ANOTHER WORLD: What on Earth Are We Missing? by Philip Yancey (Nonfiction/Christian Living)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Philip Yancey's thoughtful spiritual journey through the "borderlands of belief" will give voice to longings so often unexamined among both doubters of and believers in God.

NEXT DOOR SAVIOR: Near Enough to Touch, Strong Enough to Trust by Max Lucado (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Master storyteller Max Lucado presents the life of Jesus Christ in stunning contrast, revealing the irresistible human qualities and the undeniably divine characteristics of Jesus. He describes a Savior who is as approachable as a next-door neighbor yet mighty enough to save humanity.

MUDHOUSE SABBATH by Lauren F. Winner (Nonfiction/Spirituality)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
With vulnerability and artful prose, Lauren F. Winner shares eleven of the best practices from her Orthodox Jewish faith --- including keeping the Sabbath, practicing hospitality, and fasting --- that are informing her new life as a Christian.

ABBA'S CHILD: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Many people don't think they're worthy of God's love. Discover how He offers forgiveness, grace and unconditional love as our heavenly "Abba" in this recently revised and updated work.

SOUL PASSION: Embracing Your Life's Ultimate Purpose by Ramesh Richard (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Do you want to discover the meaning of your life? In this enlightening book, the first in the Intentional Life trilogy, Ramesh Richard motivates readers to ask themselves what their passion is and where they have placed their heart, love and trust.

DEVELOPING THE LEADERS AROUND YOU: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential by John C. Maxwell (Business & Economics/Leadership)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
This practical and inspirational book emphasizes that an organization cannot grow until its members grow. John C. Maxwell encourages readers to foster a productive team spirit, make difficult decisions, handle confrontation, and to nurture, encourage and equip people to be leaders.

FRODO & HARRY: Understanding Visual Media and Its Impact on Our Lives by Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Karen Campbell
This eye-opening book contrasts the fantasy worlds of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, showing their very different worldviews. Using Harry and Frodo as a lens to examine media entertainment as a whole, the authors show us how to make wise choices, because there's more at stake than just a book or a movie --- it's a way of looking at the world.

INDELIBLE INK: 22 Prominent Christian Leaders Discuss the Books that Shape Their Faith edited by Scott Larsen (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
This unique and fascinating volume from general editor Scott Larsen contains essays by 22 Christian leaders and lists from 130 others on the books that had a major influence on their life and faith.

MARGIN: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Sean Fowlds
As a medical practitioner, Dr. Richard Swenson frequently sees people who are exhausted and hurting. A majority of them are suffering from an uncontrolled societal epidemic: living without margin. In this valuable book, Dr. Swenson provides a prescription against the danger of overloaded lives.

THE HOUSE WHERE THE HARDEST THINGS HAPPENED: A Memoir About Belonging by Kate Young Caley (Memoir)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
In this compelling memoir Kate Young Caley recounts the hurt and confusion she felt as a young girl, her subsequent questions concerning the Church, and her personal journey back to God.

Our Christian Living books may be found here.

Faithful Fifteen invited some of your favorite writers to respond to the Faithful Fifteen, a list of questions developed to give readers insight into Christian authors --- and what they write. If there is an author you would like to see profiled here, please write Authors participating this month:
Hannah Alexander
Melody Carlson
Kristen Heitzmann
Beverly Lewis
Cindi McMenamin
Janette Oke
Ed Rowell
Lisa Samson
Brock Thoene
Leslie Vernick
Jim Ware
Read the Faithful Fifteen interviews here.
Which of the following kinds of Christian books do you read?

Marriage and Family Life
Christian Life
Bible Study
I do not read Christian books.

Do you also read secular titles?

What do you read in the secular market?
Bestsellers/ Popular Fiction
Literary Fiction
Sci Fi/Fantasy
Chick Lit
More Choices....
Vote in the Poll here.

FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Name one book, besides the Bible, that has had an impact on your life.
Answer our Question of the Month here.
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Two Prizes
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. You could then be eligible to win books!

The prizes this contest period: SOON by Jerry Jenkins and IT'S MORE THAN THE MUSIC: Life Lessons for Loving God, Loving Each Other by Bill Gaither and Ken Abraham.

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on January 13th.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible for prizes!

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.

Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (