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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the Newsletter!

This Month on Early December 2004

Counting Down to the Holidays Talks to Karen Kingsbury
Joel Osteen, Author of YOUR BEST LIFE NOW: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential
Christian Chick Lit 
Faithful Fiction Reviews
Christian Living Reviews
Marriage & Family Life Reviews
Our Monthly Poll: Do You Give Books for Christmas?
FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Win CRYSTAL LIES by Melody Carlson
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Counting Down to the Holidays

I think my lists have lists this month. I am sure you know the feeling. Each year I spend a lot of time trying to keep crass commercialism out of the Christmas season. As a family, we decorate a tree for charity. We select a theme and then plot together on how to make the tree reflect that theme. This year, given our family's love of the Outer Banks, we decorated the tree with hand-painted shells. We are calling it OBXmas. It has been a yearlong project since we started collecting shells on our vacation last December. Making these ornaments and seeing the trees that others design ensure that this is one of my favorite holiday traditions.

I also paint presents for friends, which gives me time to think about the person I am giving a gift to as I work on their gifts. Last year I realized that I savor memories of things I did growing up over the holidays more than I remembered the presents. Thus when my niece and nephew came into town I mapped out a weekend of adventures with them, which brought some nice memories. I am doing the same this year.

One thing that always makes my lists for gift giving are books. Name me a person and I can think of a book that they may enjoy. Since people know this, about this time of year my phone starts ringing and my email box starts filling up with questions from friends on what books to give. Books never seem materialistic to me. Selected carefully they are truly gifts from the heart.

We at have assembled a wonderful collection of holiday reads during this most special time of year. Some books will make you laugh, while others will cause you to shed a tear --- but they all will inspire and uplift you. We also hope that these titles serve as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas --- a time for love and benevolence, celebration and remembrance, family and friends, and spirituality and prayer.

Have a wonderful holiday season...give thanks for the family and friends that you hold dear. Light your Advent wreaths and open your Advent calendars with eager anticipation of Christmas Day. Merry Christmas from all of us at

Carol Fitzgerald (

Read our Christmas Books Roundup here. Talks to Karen Kingsbury

Even though the characters in her novels deal with difficult, sometimes heart-wrenching situations, award-winning author Karen Kingsbury calls her own life upbeat and happy. interviewer Cindy Crosby recently talked with the energetic Kingsbury about the challenges of parenting six kids and sustaining a full writing schedule, some exciting plans in the works for taking one of her novels to the big screen, and how the Kingsburys plan to celebrate the holidays.

Read our interview with Karen Kingsbury here.

Joel Osteen, Author of YOUR BEST LIFE NOW: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Across the country Joel Osteen's YOUR BEST LIFE NOW has been flying out of stores and hitting bestseller lists. Here's why!

Do you often dream of living a more rewarding life? Do you aspire to a better job, a stronger marriage, a happier home? Do you wish for more gratifying relationships with your family and friends? Perhaps you simply want to accomplish more and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. In this remarkable book, Joel Osteen offers you unique insights and encouragement that will help you overcome every obstacle you may encounter.

Read an excerpt here.
Read more about Joel Osteen
Hear an audio excerpt here.
See Joel's Website:


Christian Chick Lit interviewed eleven authors who write in the Christian Chick Lit genre --- Judy Baer, Tracey Bateman, Kristin Billerbeck, Lori Copeland, Penny Culliford, Sharon Dunn, Robin Jones Gunn, Neta Jackson, Annie Jones, Allie Pleiter, and Laura Jensen Walker. These talented writers discuss the essential elements of a Chick Lit novel, the differences between Christian Chick Lit and its secular counterpart, the scenes or characters they are especially proud to have written, and the impact that this genre (and its subgenres) can have on female readers.
Read the Christian Chick Lit Roundtable here.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

STAIN OF GUILT: Book Two in the Hidden Faces Series by Brandilyn Collins (Suspense)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Forensic artist Annie Kingston agrees to draw the updated face of Bill Bland, a cunning fugitive wanted for a double murder committed twenty years ago, in this latest chilling story from the talented Brandilyn Collins.

Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Chrissy de Medici returns to Grand-mere's eighteenth-century villa in order to celebrate a quiet family Christmas. But when a valuable fifteenth-century illuminated prayer book disappears from Grand-mere's room and her uncle's body is found dead in the orange grove, Chrissy is thrown into solving the mysteries.

DYING TO KILL: An Angel Delaney Mystery by Patricia H. Rushford (Mystery)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Angel Delaney is taking a break from the pressures of police work. But when she receives a call for help from a resident in her coastal Oregon town, she rushes right over and becomes involved in a twisting, multiple murder investigation that she is determined to unravel.

THE INCUMBENT by Alton Gansky (Suspense)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
In this chilling tale of intrigue in a small southern California coastal town, Mayor Madison Glenn sets out to discover who is behind the abduction of her friend and treasurer of her last campaign, Lisa Truccoli.

A LIGHT TO MY PATH by Lynn Austin (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
The talented Lynn Austin completes her "Refiner's Fire" trilogy with a dramatic examination of the Civil War through the perspectives of two slaves.

SHATTERED IMAGE by J.F. Margos (Mystery)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Forensic sculptor Toni Sullivan will do whatever it takes to unmask a murderer in order to find peace. But how far will she have to go? And where will she find the strength to handle the traumatic legacy of the past?

Read our Faithful Fiction lineup here.

Christian Living Reviews
THE DNA OF RELATIONSHIPS by Gary Smalley (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Gary Smalley explains the whys and hows of the "Fear Dance," which can destroy close relationships, and then lays out a strategy for learning new dance steps.

BRYSON CITY SEASONS: More Tales of a Doctor's Practice in the Smoky Mountains,
by Walt Larimore, M.D. (Inspirational/Motivational)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Fans of Philip Gulley's "Front Porch" series or James Herriot's tales will enjoy this Christian doctor's latest collection of homespun reflections on his life and medical practice in a small town in the Smoky Mountains.

GETTING THROUGH THE TOUGH STUFF by Charles R. Swindoll (Spirituality/Self-Help)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Fast-paced lives with high anxiety are the norm today. This book of encouragement, hope and freedom from Charles R. Swindoll is an invitation to meet Christ at the crossroads and move beyond the tough times.
Our Christian Living reviews may be found here.

Marriage & Family Life Reviews
I'M PREGNANT...NOW WHAT? Heartfelt Advice on Getting Through an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Ruth Graham and Sara Dormon, Ph.D. (Family Relationships)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
In the wake of her own teen daughter's unplanned pregnancies, Ruth Graham shares her family's story and offers heartfelt encouragement to others, with the help of clinical psychologist Sara Dormon.
Read our Marriage & Family Life reviews here.
Our Monthly Poll: Do You Give Books for Christmas?
Do you give books for Christmas?

All of the time
Some of the time

Has there ever been a book that you bought multiple copies of to give as a gift?

Not sure

What kinds of books do you give as gifts for Christmas?

Fiction titles that I have enjoyed and think others will like as well.
Fiction titles that I think the recipient would like, even if I have not read them
Christian Living
Christmas specific books
Marriage and Family Life
Books about home and living
Small gift books
I do not give books for Christmas.
Vote in the Poll here.

FaithfulReader Question of the Month
What was your favorite book that you have either given, or received, at the holidays.
Answer our Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Win CRYSTAL LIES by Melody Carlson
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. You could then be eligible to win CRYSTAL LIES by Melody Carlson.

Please note that the next Word of Mouth update is December 15th.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

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 or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the
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Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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