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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the Newsletter!

This Month on

Early August 2005


Summer Reading Talks to Joel C. Rosenberg, Author of THE EZEKIEL OPTION

Ray Blackston Answers The Faithful Fifteen

ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly is Now in Stores

GIVER OF ROSES by Kathleen Morgan is Now In Stores

Faithful Fiction Reviews
Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

FIRST DAWN by Judith Miller is Now in Stores

Reading Group Discussion Guides

2005 Christy Award Winners

Gold Medallion Winners Poll: Church Discussion Groups
FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Summer Reading

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the International Christian Retailing Conference in Denver. Colorado is home to some of my favorite places and I was happy to get some read/relax time in the mountains before attending this event.

I always think of book conferences as great entertainment. Sure there is a lot of work involved, but I do enjoy the opportunity to meet and converse with the authors that we feature on our pages. Finding new talent, listening what old favorites are up to and hearing buzz about upcoming releases makes this a terrific experience.

This issue has a lot of great reading in it, one of the reasons it's coming to you a tad later than usual.

Happy reading and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Joel C. Rosenberg, Author of THE EZEKIEL OPTION contributing writer W. Terry Whalin interviewed Joel C. Rosenberg, a New York Times bestselling author and a communications strategist who has worked with some of the world's most influential leaders in business, politics and media. Rosenberg discusses his motivation for writing THE EZEKIEL OPTION, which he describes as "a political thriller with a supernatural twist." He also shares details of a remarkable trip he took with his father to Moscow while doing research for his latest book, explains what he would like readers to take away from his fiction, and addresses the eerie coincidences between his novels and real-life events.

THE EZEKIEL OPTION by Joel C. Rosenberg (Political Thriller)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
When Russia's richest oil baron is killed, Moscow suddenly teeters on the verge of political chaos. Tehran races to complete its nuclear arsenal. Washington finds itself dangerously divided from its European allies. And in the dead of night, in the hills overlooking Jerusalem, a senior White House advisor uncovers a chilling ancient conspiracy as real as the morning's headlines

Read a review of THE EZEKIEL OPTION and our interview with Joel C. Rosenberg here.

Ray Blackston Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Ray Blackston worked as a buyer and a broker for eleven years before cashing in his modest 401k and leaving his corporate cubicle to write full time. In this interview, the author of FLABBERGASTED, A DELIRIOUS SUMMER and LOST IN ROOVILLE discusses the quality of Christian fiction today as opposed to secular fiction, the positive feedback he's gotten from young people concerning his novels, and an unforgettable email he received from the father of a gentleman who deeply influenced Blackston.

Click here to read Ray Blackston's answer to the Faithful Fifteen.

ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly is Now in Stores

ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly
(Historical Fiction)
Samuel and Julia Wortham have survived many a trial, but when a raging fire breaks out in 1938 and threatens to destroy their neighbors' farm, the two families must cling to their faith. Meanwhile, the Worthams' daughter harbors a troubling secret that could reveal the cause of the fire but finds herself caught between a promise and exposing the truth. A compelling tale of courage and community, ROREY'S SECRET follows the Wortham family, who with trust and determination seek the restoring and healing power of forgiveness.

Click here to read more about ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly 

GIVER OF ROSES by Kathleen Morgan is Now In Stores

GIVER OF ROSES by Kathleen Morgan (Fantasy)
Book One in a Stunning New Fantasy Series
Enter an enchanting world in the throes of an epic conflict --- and discover the unexpected outcome of surrendering to divine direction! Vartan Karayan, heir of Gadiel, has been critically wounded in the siege of Astara. As he escapes with the help of Danae, a captive, the pair soon finds that the true battle has just begun.


Click here to read more about Kathleen Morgan and GIVER OF ROSES.
Faithful Fiction Reviews
LOST IN ROOVILLE by Ray Blackston (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Against the dramatic scenery of the Australian Outback, Ray Blackston continues the saga of his colorful band of South Carolina church singles as he brings his trilogy (which includes FLABBERGASTED and A DELIRIOUS SUMMER) to a satisfying conclusion.

A CHANGE OF HEART: A Harmony Novel by Philip Gulley (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Get ready for a readable joy ride in this latest installment of the Harmony series. Philip Gulley sets the drive on cruise control for his fifth offering --- humorous, low-key storytelling full of the characters you've come to love throughout the previous four full-length novels.

WITH THIS RING, I'M CONFUSED by Kristin Billerbeck (Romance)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
The third and last book in Kristin Billerbeck's Ashley Stockingdale series answers the following question: Will Ashley finally marry the man of her dreams? Her march toward the aisle has never been simple, and this remaining leg of the journey is no different.

CLUB SANDWICH by Lisa Samson (Fiction)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Ivy Schneider is the mother of three, part-owner of her family's restaurant, and a newspaper columnist. Her mother is elderly, her father only comes around for free meals, and her husband is never home. Ivy's busy (and lonely) life is quickly stretched to the breaking point.

THE REVELATION: Abram's Daughters #5 by Beverly Lewis (Fiction)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
In this fifth and final installment of the Abram's Daughters series, Beverly Lewis deftly manages to wrap up the oft-troublesome and frequently heartwrenching tangles the Ebersol sisters endure as ever-emerging Amish women who, one by one, come to faith in Christ.

GRACE AT LOW TIDE by Beth Webb Hart (Fiction)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
When a business venture goes sour, Charleston blue-bloods Billy and Dee DeLoach uproot their family and move into the caretaker's cottage on what was once the family plantation estate on Edisto Island. While the rest of her family falls to pieces, teenaged DeVeaux sustains them through her reluctant help and stubborn hope.

MOM OVER MIAMI by Annie Jones (Fiction)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Hannah Bartlett --- soccer mom, budding journalist, dutiful doctor's wife and mother of two --- feels like she's been handed a full plate from the buffet of life. A new baby alone could overwhelm, but add a preteen foster son, meddling neighbors and Hannah's nagging self-doubt, and you have a recipe for disaster.

POTTER SPRINGS by Britta Coleman (Fiction)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
Young minister Mark Reynolds has every reason to be optimistic: he'll likely be promoted to senior minister at the largest Baptist church in Houston, and he's deeply in love with his fiancée. But his dreams and reputation are shattered when he learns that Amanda is pregnant, and the young couple relocates to a small town in hopes of starting anew.

EMILY EVER AFTER by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (Fiction)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
When native Californian Emily Hinton lands a job at the world-famous publishing house Morrow & Sons in New York, she's ecstatic for the opportunity --- not to mention the change of scenery. But soon she finds that it's anything but easy to balance her passion for New York's glitz and glamour with her determination to live out her faith.
Our Faithful Fiction reviews may be found here.
Christian Living Reviews

THE SLUMBER OF CHRISTIANITY: Awakening a Passion for Heaven on Earth by Ted Dekker (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
In his debut work of nonfiction, Ted Dekker explores what robs us of happiness and how we can rediscover it and live lives that rekindle hope. The pursuit of pleasure is a gift to all humans --- a function of the Creator himself, who is bent upon our happiness --- and it's time for Christians to reclaim our inheritance of pleasure.

GOD'S MIRROR: A Modern Parable by Max Lucado (Inspirational)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
In his latest title, Max Lucado --- who has more than 40 million books in print and is one of Christian publishing's favorite authors --- tells two stories that reflect on what it means to be God's ambassadors in the world.

BEYOND THE SORROW: There's Hope in the Promises of God by Tammy Trent (Inspirational)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
People everywhere are facing difficult situations, and they need to know how to cope with the frustration and overwhelming emotions that accompany any uncertain situation. This book of hope from Tammy Trent, whose husband died in a scuba diving accident, interweaves third-person stories and letters of people who needed --- and found --- encouragement.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FOOLISH by Brennan Manning (Religion/Spirituality)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
In this important book, the author of THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL and RUTHLESS TRUST teaches us how to think like Jesus. By reorienting our lives according to the gospel we may appear to be fools in the eyes of the world, but Brennan Manning reveals that this is exactly what Jesus wants.

THROUGH THE SHADOWLANDS: The Love Story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman by Brian Sibley (Biography)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
For those who are unfamiliar with the life of C.S. Lewis and his late-in-life marriage, this re-release will serve as a good introduction to the man, his writings, and his personal life. THROUGH THE SHADOWLANDS is a moving tribute to a couple whose faith, hope and love grew through adversity.

LOSERS AND WINNERS, SAINTS AND SINNERS: How to Finish Strong in the Spiritual Race by Greg Laurie (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
Renowned pastor and author Greg Laurie uses biblical examples to show that everyone faces adversity, but how one handles it is what sets him or her apart. What differentiates winners from losers? According to Laurie, it's the determination to pick up and keep going after adversity knocks you down.

SOUL OBSESSION: When God's Primary Pursuit Becomes Your Life's Driving Passion by Nicky Cruz with Frank Martin (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
In his powerful new book, Nicky Cruz (formerly a gang leader in New York City, now a world-renown Christian evangelist) shares powerful personal stories of faithful obedience, even in the midst of difficult circumstances --- including the amazing story of his mother's deathbed conversion and healing.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE: New Direction for Life's Dramas by Donna Partow (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
With humorous stories and faith-enriching insights on how to become all you want to be as a follower of Christ, Donna Partow encourages you to revel in the joy of God's grace, no matter where you are in life and in your relationship with God.

Read our Christian Living reviews here.

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

I LOVE YOU MORE: How Everyday Problems Can Strengthen Your Marriage by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott (Love & Marriage)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Relationship experts and award-winning authors Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott believe the same forces that can end a marriage can become the catalyst for new relational depth and richness. In this book they offer manageable steps for letting marriage problems strengthen a couple's commitment rather than leading to divorce.

LETTERS FROM DAD by Greg Vaughn, with Fred Holmes (Family & Relationships)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
What began as a passion in the heart of a father of seven has led to a new men's movement. With 77 million baby boomers, many are asking "How do I leave something of lasting value to my children and grandchildren?" Greg Vaughn's book offers a number of tips for becoming a better parent and husband by writing letters of blessing, affirmation and commitment to one's family.

Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Karol Ladd offers solid, thought-provoking ideas for developing a little oasis of calm in the stressful everyday hassles of family life --- a positive, biblically-based plan to help women realistically create an atmosphere of peace that she and her family so desperately need.

Read our Marriage and Family Life reviews here.

FIRST DAWN by Judith Miller is Now in Stores

From Judith Miller, the coauthor of the BELLS OF LOWELL and LIGHTS OF LOWELL series with Tracie Peterson comes the compelling new novel FIRST DAWN.

Lured by the promise of true freedom, a thriving community, and land to call their own, sharecroppers Ezekiel Harban and his three daughters set off for Nicodemus, Kansas. When their wagon train arrives, they are shocked at what they find, and many give up and head back home. But Ezekiel's family is determined to build a new life in spite of the disappointments. 

Dr. Samuel Boyle and his family also are drawn by the wonderful potential of the Kansas frontier. When the Boyles settle in nearby Hill City, the struggling people of Nicodemus get word of a doctor in the neighboring community and seek his help.

As the lives of the Harban and Boyle families intersect, the two communities begin an enduring bond that seeks to bring the promises of the past to fulfillment.

Click here for more information about FIRST DAWN by Judith Miller.

Reading Group Discussion Guides

ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly
(Historical Fiction)
Samuel and Julia Wortham have survived many a trial, but when a raging fire breaks out in 1938 and threatens to destroy their neighbors' farm, the two families must cling to their faith. Meanwhile, the Worthams' daughter harbors a troubling secret that could reveal the cause of the fire but finds herself caught between a promise and exposing the truth. A compelling tale of courage and community, ROREY'S SECRET follows the Wortham family, who with trust and determination seek the restoring and healing power of forgiveness.

GOD WITHOUT RELIGION: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam
In a groundbreaking approach to today's tough spiritual and social dilemmas, God Without Religion offers an intelligent and compassionate bridge from dogmatic belief systems to progressive spirituality. Sankara Saranam, an ascetic and mystic, shows why organized religion has long been the cause of humanity's worst wars and most acute suffering --- then guides us beyond our divisive history into more expansive perceptions capable of creating a unified, peaceful future. Through a series of penetrating inquiries and practices, readers are invited to examine their beliefs, turn inward, and develop a direct understanding of God.


See all our reading group discussion guides here.

2005 Christy Award Winners

The 6th annual Christy Awards were presented on July 9th at the Denver Marriott City Center. Author Jerry Jenkins emceed the event.

2005 Winners:

First Novel

THE MENDING STRING by Cliff Coon (Moody Publishers)

BAD GROUND by W. Dale Cramer (Bethany House Publishers)

KING'S RANSOM by Jan Beazely/Thom Lemmons (WaterBrook Press)

SECRETS by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House Publishers)

TIGER IN THE SHADOWS by Debra Wilson (Kregel)

THE SHADOW WITHIN by Karen Hancock (Bethany House Publishers)

Click here to read more about the Christy Award Winners.

Gold Medallion Winners

The Gold Medallion Book Awards, established in 1978, recognize the absolute highest quality in Christian books. Based on excellence in content, literary quality, design, and significance of contribution, the Gold Medallion Book Awards are among the most prestigious in the industry. Below please find some of the winners of the 2005 award:

OCEANS APART by Karen Kingsbury (Zondervan)

A TABLE IN THE PRESENCE by Lt. Carey H. Cash (W Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by Max Lucado (Integrity Publishers)

Christian Living
WHEN GOD DOESN'T ANSWER YOUR PRAYER by Jerry Sittser (Zondervan)

Christianity and Society
TOTAL TRUTH by Nancy Pearcey (Crossway Books)

THE CASE FOR A CREATOR by Lee Strobel (Zondervan)

Family and Parenting
GRACE BASED PARENTING by Dr. Tim Kimmel (W Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

Click here to see more Gold Medallion winners and to learn more about this award. Poll: Church Discussion Groups

Does your church have a book discussion group?
Do they discuss Christian fiction as well as nonfiction?
They discuss only fiction.
They discuss only nonfiction.
There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction discussed.

Answer the Poll here.

FaithfulReader Question of the Month

What is the best book that you have read thus far this summer?

Answer the Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. You could then be eligible to win ROREY'S SECRET by Leisha Kelly. Note that the next Word of Mouth update is August 23rd.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

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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 (

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