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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

November 2005


Getting Ready for the Holidays

Holiday Roundup


THE CHRISTMAS HOPE by Donna VanLiere - Holiday Basket of Cheer Giveaway - Enter by Friday, December 2nd

Now in Stores: THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW by Clay Jacobsen

Faithful Fiction Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

Larry Julian Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Tracie Peterson Answers The Faithful Fifteen

In a Book Group? Register Your Group With

Check It Out --- has Launched a Community Message Board Poll Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Getting Ready for the Holidays

As we start our countdown to the holidays, we bring you an issue of with a whole host of treasures.

Marisa Emralino has compiled a lovely --- and very robust --- feature on Christmas titles. Marcia Ford looks at an astonishing 23 Narnia or CS Lewis-related titles that are getting attention in anticipation of the release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe next week. I confess that I do not recall reading this book and thus have it slated for weekend reading!

We also deliver reviews for a wide range of titles. I guarantee there is a book among them that will inspire you to take time from holiday responsibilities and just enjoy some quiet time reading. 

Happy reading...and don't forget to answer this month's poll and share with us information about your own holiday plans.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Click here for a list of places where you can donate your books to Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Holiday Roundup

We at have assembled a list of books that capture the true essence of this most blessed time of year. Among these titles are faith-enriching devotionals and thoughtful examinations of the monumental events in which our faith is rooted, heartwarming tales to share with children of all ages, as well as amusing anecdotes of Christmases past and ideas for future family traditions. We hope these thought-provoking and inspiring reads will fill you with the spirit of the season to be cherished all year long.


Click here for our list of Holiday books.


British author C.S. Lewis and his best-known novels, the seven-volume The Chronicles of Narnia series, have been readers' favorites for more than 50 years. But nothing has prompted a resurgence of interest in the man and his writing like the December 9th release of the Disney/Walden Media feature film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

And although the author and the series are especially cherished among Christians, the shelves of general market bookstores are also displaying some of the hundreds of products that have been released or re-released to capitalize on the movie tie-in opportunity. contributing writer Marcia Ford takes a look at 23 such offerings, including several Lewis biographies and family-oriented books in addition to books that draw spiritual insights from the Narnia series.

Click here to read our special feature on the wonderful world of Narnia.

THE CHRISTMAS HOPE by Donna VanLiere - Holiday Basket of Cheer Giveaway - Enter by Friday, December 2nd

Each week from November 4th through December 16th on we are spotlighting a different title, and readers have the chance to win one of five holiday baskets filled with winter-themed items as well as two copies of the featured book. Why two? One is to keep, of course, and one is for someone on your holiday gift list. We will also include festive wrapping paper and a bow to make the gift-giving hassle-free.

This week's featured title is THE CHRISTMAS HOPE, the latest novel in Donna VanLiere's beloved and bestselling The Christmas Hope series, which includes THE CHRISTMAS SHOES and THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING. THE CHRISTMAS HOPE is VanLiere at her best --- her story of love in the face of loss, joy when all seems hopeless, and how light can shine into the darkest places is as soul-soothing and warm as your most beloved holiday quilt.

Our Holiday Basket of Cheer for THE CHRISTMAS HOPE  is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with two copies of THE CHRISTMAS HOPE, green-and-tan checkered wrapping paper and a matching bow --- winners will receive a cinnamon spice-scented Illuminations candle, Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet vanilla marshmallows, sweet-smelling Cinnamon sticks, delicious Chewy Peps peppermint candies, soft comfy slipper socks and blue-green treated pinecones that will color your holiday fire. We have five to give away

Click here to read all the details of our Holiday Basket Giveaway for THE CHRISTMAS HOPE.

Now in Stores: THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW by Clay Jacobsen

One minute, 60 very intense seconds, is exactly the amount of time 27-year old Jack Forrest, football coach for Wheaton North High School, had to decide if he wanted to leave his life behind and play in The Ultimate Reality Show, a reality show on an island in the middle of an unknown ocean with complete strangers competing for 10 million dollars! Without the hottest new reality show, Coach Forrest already had enough drama in his life: a budding romance with Principal Kathryn Williams --- his boss, a lawsuit looming over his head and the school board breathing down his neck over a simple prayer offered for an injured player. THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW puts Jack and all of the "players" in his life to the test as they decide where their family truly lies. Offering unexpected twists and turns, this latest offering from Clay Jacobsen is sure to have you on the edge of your seat. Who will be the winner of what really matters at the end of THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW?

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW.

Click here to read more about THE ULTIMATE REALITY SHOW.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

LIGHT FROM HEAVEN by Jan Karon (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
It's the final encore for the characters of Mitford, "the little town with the big heart," as the curtain rings down on the long-running series. Fans who have devotedly read each of the Mitford Years novels will be delighted that this long-awaited conclusion is everything that might be hoped for --- and a little bit more.

THE CHRISTMAS HOPE by Donna VanLiere (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Patricia and Mark Addison have long given up the hope of having a meaningful Christmas. But this year, Patricia's job as a social worker will lead her to a very special five-year-old. This heartwarming story of a couple numbed by grief and a little girl's love that rekindles the spark in their marriage will tug at your heartstrings.

THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER: Annie's People #1 by Beverly Lewis (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Readers will enjoy the glimpses of Amish life and the story of a young woman's dilemma over choosing her art or her community in this first installment of a new series by bestselling author Beverly Lewis, who shows why she has become one of inspirational fiction's queens of the gentle read.

Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
It's time for the residents of Partonville, Illinois to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Dorothy Westra's 88th birthday, in this fourth installment of the Dearest Dorothy series. Charlene Ann Baumbich weaves together the lives of three generations of the town's women in this delightful read.

Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Christy Award-winning author Randy Singer's talent is in full force as he specifically addresses what constitutes the separation of church and state during perhaps the most controversial season of all --- Christmas. He spins an even-handed and surprising tale of a small town's battle over the meaning of this sacred holiday.

HOT FLASHES & COLD CREAM by Diann Hunt (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Midlife isn't a crisis for Maggie Hayden until the day a former classmate fails to recognize her. Then her world spins out of control. With an empty nest, a body heading south, and a marital spark that seems to be sputtering, she knows she has to do something. But what?

Read our Faithful Fiction reviews here.

Christian Living Reviews

FAMILY MAN: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson by Dale Buss (Biography)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Dale Buss offers the first-ever complete biography of one of America's most influential men, Dr. James Dobson. Buss examines Dobson's many achievements and challenges, as well as his role in the 2004 election, evangelicalism, and the larger culture.

RESTORING BROKEN THINGS: What Happens When We Catch a Vision of the New World Jesus is Creating by Steven Curtis Chapman and Scotty Smith (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Award-winning singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and his pastor, Scotty Smith, reveal the grandeur and the practical implications of Jesus's commitment to redeem all things, and the part we are to play with him in that process.

WHEN WALLFLOWERS DANCE: Becoming a Woman of Righteous Confidence by Angela Thomas (Christian Life)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
Using both Scripture and story, Angela Thomas addresses the attributes of "becoming" and the freedom we have in Christ to keep developing the characteristics that reflect our God-given longings. This is a fresh challenge to women who have lived hesitant, cautious lives but long to break free and dance!

GOD'S OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS: Discover What They Mean for You by Lee Strobel (Christian Life)
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
Lee Strobel has returned with an updated edition of GOD'S OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS, in which he presents thirteen phenomenal claims by God that can change the entire trajectory of your life and revolutionize your attitudes, your character, and your relationships.

BEHIND THE SCREEN: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film, and Culture edited by Spencer Lewerenz and Barbara Nicolosi (Performing Arts)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
This is a fascinating look at Hollywood through the eyes of Christian writers, producers, and executives living out their faith behind TV shows, on movie sets, and in studio offices. They will take you behind the screen to reveal what Hollywood thinks of God and what you can do to close the gap between Christianity and culture.

POP GOES RELIGION: Faith and Culture in America by Terry Mattingly (Christianity)
Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
In this collection of essays, popular American journalist Terry Mattingly teaches readers how to identify elements of faith in today's pop culture. From music to movies, politics to the pope, Mattingly explores the matters of the heart with a fresh and relevant perspective.

Read our Christian Living reviews here.

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

DEFENDING TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE: It Starts with You by Willard F. Harley, Jr. (Family & Relationships/Marriage)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Willard F. Harley, Jr., nationally acclaimed clinical psychologist and bestselling author of HIS NEEDS, HER NEEDS, has compiled substantial and troubling evidence that clearly delineates how society contributes to the breakdown of the primary family unit --- marriage.

FIVE-STAR FAMILIES: Moving Yours From Good to Great by Carol Kuykendall (Family & Relationships/Parenting)
Reviewed by Michele Howe
Carol Kuykendall --- author, speaker, mother of three grown children, and strategic projects director for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) --- has compiled what she considers to be the five-star winning components of a successful family.

Read our Marriage and Family Life reviews here.

Larry Julian Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Larry Julian, a successful consultant and speaker who specializes in Biblically-based leadership development, is the author of GOD IS MY CEO and GOD IS MY SUCCESS. In this interview, he discusses his intent to inspire people to integrate their spiritual lives with their professional lives in order to achieve God's intended design, and his belief in God's ability to turn "broken" individuals into instruments of success. Julian also reveals how fear, pain and failure have led him to rediscover his lapsed Jewish faith in the Christian Church, and shares his rather unique prayer and meditation habits.

Read Larry Julian's answers to The Faithful Fifteen here.

Tracie Peterson Answers The Faithful Fifteen

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of over 60 historical and contemporary novels, including her latest release, WHAT SHE LEFT FOR ME. In this interview Peterson shares her attempts to capture universal hardships and struggles in her fiction, while offering encouragement and guidance to direct her readers toward Christ. She also traces her spiritual journey that began at the age of six and provides anecdotes of moving encounters with her readers.

Click here to read Tracie Peterson's answers to The Faithful Fifteen.

In a Book Group? Register Your Group With

Each month book clubs that are registered with are offered exciting opportunities that include chats with authors like Charles Martin, author of THE DEAD DON'T DANCE, and Denise Hildreth, author of SAVANNAH FROM SAVANNAH, book giveaways --- and more. offers registered groups the chance to enhance the experience of being part of a book club with these kinds of exclusive offers. Also, beginning in Spring 2006 Registered Groups will receive additional exclusive content each month in their Registered Book Club newsletters.

Don't let you or your book group miss out on the chance to connect with some of your favorite authors, receive free books and more. 

More than 3,500 groups already are registered with us. Registration is free and easy. Along with the regular newsletter, registered readers receive an exclusive monthly mailing with descriptions for all the giveaways going on that month and details on how to enter.

Click here to register your group.

Check It Out --- has Launched a Community Message Board

We have launched a message board on where book club members can post messages for other book club members.

-Looking for new members for your group? Then post a listing.
-Looking for a new group to join? Post a listing.
-Tell us what your group is reading.
-Share how you choose books
-Give us your tips for leading a discussion
-Share your book club story
-Tell us some fun and interesting ideas for book clubs
-Post recipes and serving ideas

Please Note: To post on the Message Board you will be asked to register a username and password. Simply follow the directions in the registration window that pops up the first time you post. After that you will be able to create new discussion topics and reply to others' discussions whenever you are logged in.

Click here to go to the Message Board. Poll

Which of the following traditions does your family observe at the holidays? (Check as many as apply.)

Reading passages from the Bible on Christmas Eve and Day
Lighting an advent wreath
Opening an advent calendar
Attending special holiday services
Giving gifts to the less fortunate
Donating time to a charity

Answer the Poll here. Question of the Month

What book are you most inclined to give this year?

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 LIFT UP YOUR HANDS: Raise Your Praise and Get Lost in God by Gloria P. Pruett. 

This book will do for praising God what Prayers That Avail Much and What Happens When Women Pray did for raising the level of personal prayer among Christians. Oftentimes when praying, people get frustrated and stuck using the same phrases and words over and over in their effort to tell God how much they appreciate and honor Him. In LIFT UP YOUR HANDS, Minister Gloria P. Pruett delivers "The ABCs of Praise" to help readers focus and uncover their personal, plentiful reasons to give God praise. This simple but effective and powerful tool is accompanied by Pruett's own praise testimony, examples of how to personally use her method to develop a new way of praising, and exercises designed to get the most out of daily prayer time.
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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