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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

Late September 2005


Falling Into Reading...

Angela Thomas Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Sharon Ewell Foster Answers The Faithful Fifteen

ALWAYS GREEN by Patti Hill is Now in Stores

WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME by Tracie Peterson is in Stores This Tuesday

ALL SHE EVER WANTED by Lynn Austin is in Stores This Tuesday

Faithful Fiction Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

Reading Group Discussion Guides

Coming Soon Poll: Library Use Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Falling Into Reading...

September in the New York area this year has had a lovely run of perfectly blue-sky days. They are cushioning the idea that fall is upon us. Temperatures here plummeted last night and suddenly sending the boys off to school in shorts was not an option. I always hate to see summer end and dig in my heels trying to make it last. One reason: I seem to have more time to read in the summer since life kicks back a bit. I am vowing to allow myself this same escape time as the days get shorter!

There was lots of good reading around my house this past month. I read JIMMY by Robert Whitlow, a heart-wrenching and honest story of a young boy who may be mentally "slow," but has a heart that beats strong and a faith that runs deep. I had the opportunity to meet Whitlow in Charlotte earlier this month and heard him read and talk about the book. Hearing him talk so fondly about his character made the book even more special.

At this same event I met Beth Webb Hart, the author of GRACE AT LOW TIDE, which our reviewer Marcia Ford just loved, and I now want to read. I also saw Charles Martin, author of two of my favorite books, THE DEAD DON'T DANCE and WRAPPED IN RAIN. I love evenings like this where the bookish chatter among authors just rolls.

Two weeks ago I read one of the books that we are reviewing this week called UP AND RUNNING. The mere thought of a child coming down with meningitis can spark fear in a town. I confess to knowing little to nothing about this disease before reading this book. Now I think I will quake a bit more knowing what the ramifications of it can be. At the same time, I feel this young boy's courage --- and honesty --- has given me pause more than once these past weeks. His dead-on attack at each of the challenges before him was extremely inspiring.

Now I am reading NEW TOWN by Harry Blamires, which is one of our new discussion guide selections this week. Blamires was tutored by C.S. Lewis, which makes this book very interesting reading. We are planning a feature about Lewis for late October or early November so stay tuned.

September is National Library Card month so our poll question asks, "Do you have a valid library card?" and "Does your library have a good selection of Christian titles?" Please weigh in and let us know.

We know many of you would like to donate to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. We have created a list of places accepting donations of books, which you can get to by clicking on the link above this letter.

Happy reading...

Carol Fitzgerald (


Angela Thomas Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Angela Thomas is the author of such books as PRAYERS FOR MOTHERS OF NEWBORNS, DO YOU THINK I'M BEAUTIFUL? and her newest, WHEN WALLFLOWERS DANCE. In this interview she shares her desire to nurture the spiritual lives of women through her writing and discusses her latest book's message of overcoming emotional numbness through the power of faith. Read on to learn more about this author, speaker, teacher and mother of four's devoted prayer and Scripture-reading habits, and the unique ways in which readers respond to her writings.

Click here to read Angela Thomas's answers to the Faithful Fifteen.

Sharon Ewell Foster Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Bestselling author Sharon Ewell Foster has penned such works as the Christy Award-winning PASSING BY SAMARIA, as well as AIN'T NO RIVER, AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN, and her latest, AIN'T NO VALLEY. In this interview she reflects on the important act of writing in her efforts to honestly portray human emotions, to understand herself and her spirituality, and --- at its most basic level --- to tell stories. She also describes her active participation in her church communities, shares the details of "family time" with her relatives, and enthuses over the diversity of her audience.

Click here to read Sharon Ewell Foster's answers to the Faithful Fifteen.

ALWAYS GREEN by Patti Hill is Now in Stores

ALWAYS GREEN by Patti Hill
When the growing gets tough . . .

Mibby Garrett could really use three things: a book that will tell her how to get through to her teenage son; enough money to pay for the new water heater; and a long, gentle rainstorm to nourish her clients' gardens, end the summer drought, and save her garden-design business.

A week's supply of Sweet Suzy Strawberry Cream Balls would be nice, too. Romance, maybe--but only if the man is at least as reliable as her black Lab and prepared to be an awesome role model for her son.

Most of all, she'd just like a few days with no surprises. She sure hasn't asked for what happens instead . . .

"Patti Hill is an amazing artist, painting word pictures with her watercolor pen as she writes her fabulous novels."
--Romance Junkies

The sequel to Hill's bestselling debut novel LIKE A WATERED GARDEN.

Click here to read more about ALWAYS GREEN by Patti Hill.

WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME by Tracie Peterson is in Stores This Tuesday

WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME by Tracie Peterson
She was Humiliated. Penniless. And Utterly Alone...

Perhaps she was naïve. Perhaps she was too trusting. But after her husband's betrayal, Jana McGuire is left with only one choice: to humbly seek refuge with a mother she barely knows.

Jana longs to understand and connect with her mother.  But Eleanor has firmly shut the door on the past, allowing admittance to no one.  As the heartache of Jana's situation heightens, her need for her mother compels her to seek out the truth of that past. But will Jana's search bring back a pain that was better left alone?

Click here to read more about WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME by Tracie Peterson.

ALL SHE EVER WANTED by Lynn Austin is in Stores This Tuesday

Thirty-five years ago Kathleen fled her home, desperate to cast off weights of poverty and shame. But an unexpected invitation from her sister unwittingly draws her back to that sleepy New York town, her own daughter in tow.

A trip meant to salvage her relationship with her daughter changes course as Kathleen reexamines her own childhood. But even more enlightening are the stories of Eleanor, her once-vibrant mother, and Fiona, the grandmother she barely knew.

The more Kathleen learns, the more answers she seeks concerning her family's mysterious past. Yet with the past exposed, Kathleen is torn between her need to forgive and the urge to forget.
Click here to read more about ALL SHE EVER WANTED.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

LAST RESORT: Hideaway Series, Book Three by Hannah Alexander (Romantic Suspense)
Reviewed by Maggie Harding
Twelve-year-old Clarissa Cooper vanishes near her home --- abducted, evidence suggests, by someone close to her. Her cousin Noelle races back to her hometown to help in the search, and childhood friend Nathan will do anything to protect Noelle from danger.

BOO HISS by Rene Gutteridge (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Readers of BOO and BOO HOO will delight in this enjoyable continuation of the exploits of the quirky characters residing in Skary, Indiana. Rene Gutteridge spins a tongue-firmly-in-cheek, humorous tale of small town life in this third book of an informal series.

THE CROSSROADS: Book Two in the Midtown Blue Series by F. P. Lione (Mystery)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
This enjoyable police drama and second installment in the "Midtown Blue" series by the husband and wife writing team of Frank and Pam Lione will entertain readers with plenty of gritty details, humor, and inside looks at dysfunctional Italian family life.

THE POTLUCK CLUB by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
This collaboration between authors Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson introduces readers to the Potluck Club --- six very different women who gather each month to share their insatiable appetite for good friends, great food, and a pinch of prayer.

FIRST DAWN: Freedom's Path, Book 1 by Judith Miller (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
Sharecropper Ezekial Harban and his three daughters set off for Nicodemus, Kansas in the hopes of starting a new life. Meanwhile, Dr. Boyle, a newly arrived doctor in neighboring Hill City, and his family are moved by the plight of the settlers in Nicodemus and vow to help. When the lives of these two families intersect, neither town will ever be the same.

DAWN OF A THOUSAND NIGHTS: A Story of Honor by Tricia Goyer (Historical Fiction)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Libby Conners promised to wait for Dan Lukens as World War II tore the two pilots away from each other and the Hawaiian island where they'd fallen in love. Now, bound by duty to their country and buoyed by the hope that they will be together again, Dan and Libby face grueling tests on opposite sides of the world.

SOMEWHERE FAST by Bob Beltz (Fiction)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
John Calvin, who seemingly has it all, wants to put as many miles between him and Chicago as the famed Route 66 would allow. With what could only barely pass for an itinerary in hand, he soon learns that the highway has other ideas for him. And as each turn brings with it another twist, he finally realizes that if he doesn't lose his mind, he might just find himself.

Read our Faithful Fiction reviews here.

Christian Living Reviews

NO MORE CHRISTIAN NICE GUY: When Being Nice --- Instead of Good --- Hurts Men, Women and Children by Paul Coughlin (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
"Recovering nice guy" Paul Coughlin points the way for all men who yearn to live a life of boldness and conviction --- like Jesus. Using humorous examples from his own life, powerful and poignant stories, and vivid examples from contemporary culture, Coughlin shows how he learned to say no to the "nice guy" syndrome.

UP AND RUNNING: The Inspiring True Story of a Boy's Struggle to Survive and Triumph by Mark Patinkin (Inspirational)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
Stricken with bacterial meningitis --- one of the fastest moving of all infections --- six-year-old Andrew Bateson survived, but lost both his legs below the knees. This is the gripping story of a young boy's battle with a life-threatening illness and how a community fought to save him.

FACING TERROR: The True Story of How an American Couple Paid the Ultimate Price Because of Their Love of Muslim People by Carrie McDonnall (Inspirational)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
An international relief worker and missionary recounts the harrowing events of the day that would forever change her life. Written with help from popular author Kristin Billerbeck, this inspirational book is a call to serve Christ wherever one lives and is, at its core, a love story. 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: A Personal Portrait by H.J. Fischer (Catholicism/Current Events)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
After three decades of reporting for Germany's major newspaper, Dr. H.J. Fischer --- who has enjoyed a personal and professional relationship with the new pope for nearly three decades --- presents a profound look at the life of Joseph Ratzinger, as well as the criticisms and questions that confront him in his new role.

THE SOUL OF CHRISTIANITY: Restoring the Great Tradition by Huston Smith (Church History/Christian Living)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Christians and non-Christians looking for an accessible yet scholarly overview and defense of the Christian faith will find this a thought-provoking and discussable book. With stories and personal anecdotes, Huston Smith not only presents the basic beliefs and essential teachings of Christianity, but argues why religious belief matters in today's secular world.

THE NEW NORMAL: Living a Fear-Free Life in a Fear Driven World by Jill Briscoe (Christian Living/Practical Life)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Prolific author and speaker Jill Briscoe sets a tone for robust, faith-driven hope against a backdrop of cultural despair, fear and uncertainty. She challenges all Christians to cling to this positive expectant-type of thinking as the only viable lifestyle in a world gone adrift.

Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Carmen Renee Berry's "unauthorized guide," which reveals an inordinate amount of emphasis on the subject of sexuality throughout church history, traces sexual attitudes and practices in Hebrew culture as presented in the Old Testament through the current issues that confront the church today.

5 PATHS TO THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE: Defining Your Dating Style edited by Alex Chediak (Relationships/Dating)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Respected relationship experts and bestselling authors, including Lauren Winner, Rick Holland and Jonathan Lindvall, help readers gain new insight into dating and marriage, offering sound advice grounded in biblical truth and their own personal experiences.

BORN AGAIN AND AGAIN: Surprising Gifts of a Fundamentalist Childhood by Jon Sweeney (Memoir)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
This memoir is a spiritual pilgrimage that explores some seldom-appreciated aspects of a Christian fundamentalist childhood: the mysticism of God indwelling the body, religious certainty, the transforming power of worship, and the importance of struggling with matters of faith until they become one's own.

a.k.a. "LOST": Discovering Ways to Connect with the People Jesus Misses Most by Jim Henderson (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
Some types of evangelism techniques have gotten a bad rap because they use a blend of aggressiveness and fear tactics to try to convert people to their own beliefs. But in his new book, Jim Henderson breathes life and hope into the idea of fulfilling the Great Commission for even the most timid believer.

SPIRIT AND FLESH by James M. Ault, Jr. (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
In an attempt to understand the influence of the Christian Right, sociologist James Ault spent several years as a welcomed but suspect outsider in a fundamentalist Baptist church. What he experienced surprised him --- and might surprise you too.


Read our Christian Living reviews here.

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

THE FOUR SEASONS OF MARRIAGE: Which Season of Marriage Are You In? by Gary Chapman (Relationships/Love & Marriage)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the perennial bestseller THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES, provides an easy-to-grasp framework to help couples understand their marriage and seven practical strategies for strengthening or improving their marriage relationship.

SIX STRING ROCKETEER: Holding Life Together When Your Parents Split Apart by Jesse Butterworth (Youth Interest/Issues)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
It's estimated that since 1970, more than one million children a year have been directly impacted by divorce. Jesse Butterworth is one of those kids. In this helpful book for today's youth, Butterworth candidly shares what it was like to discover that his parents were separating and eventually ending their marriage.

I SURRENDER ALL: Rebuilding a Marriage Broken by Pornography by Clay and Renee Crosse (Marriage/Family)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Dove Award-winning artist Clay Crosse --- who burst onto the contemporary Christian music scene with his 1994 hit "I Surrender All" --- and his wife, Renee, share their personal story of his struggle with pornography and how they rebuilt their marriage.

Read our Marriage and Family Life reviews here.

Reading Group Discussion Guides

NEW TOWN: A Fable . . . Unless You Believe by Harry Blamires (Fiction)
Can a man caught between dream and reality choose between the familiar and the unknown? Or is there more to this mission of destiny?

When Bernard Dayman is unexpectedly deposited on the streets of Old Town, he hasn't a clue how he got there or why he's come to this decaying city. But as he learns more about his surroundings, Bernard catches a glimpse of what his life could be--and immediately sets out to achieve his heart's desire.

Soon he encounters an old friend, a long-lost love, and a new flame, all of whom point Bernard in the direction of his quest--to obtain residence in the pristine and undamaged city of New Town. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by dozens of other people wanting to get out of the terrible Old Town. Can they surmount the obstacles that may keep them from a life in a better place? Follow Bernard on his journey of self-discovery and discover for yourself the difference between the dream of heaven and the stuff of earth.

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 (Religion and Spirituality)
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.

Coming Soon
Wondering what books are just out, or coming out in the months ahead? Be sure to check out our Coming Soon section on We have titles from October and November listed. Please note that we have not listed every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.
Click here to find out what's coming soon. Poll: Library Use 

Do you have a valid library card?
Does your local library have a good selection of Christian titles?
Not sure

Answer the Poll here. Question of the Month

Besides the Bible, what book has been inspiring to you?

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 SHADOWED: The Final Judgment by Jerry B. Jenkins. Note that the next Word of Mouth update is October 26th.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

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

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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