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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

January 2006


Curling Up With A Book Talks to Neta Jackson, Author of THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS TOUGH


SHOWDOWN by Ted Dekker


RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson

SAVING ALICE by David Lewis --- A Tale of Second Chances

Faithful Fiction Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

New Reading Group Discussion Guides on

What's New On Generic Discussion Guides for Christian Fiction and Religion/Spirituality Books Poll: Finding Your Books Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading --- TWO Prizes
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews

Curling Up With A Book

January typically means there's more time for reading. Sure we can talk about cleaning closets and doing all the things that inclement weather allows time for, but if I have time, I read. My favorite Sunday afternoons are the ones where I have a roaring fire in the fireplace and a good book on my lap. This month our reviews include two books that I really enjoyed --- PLAGUEMAKER by Tim Downs and RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson. They are very different, but each were very satisfying reading experiences. I like it when that happens. And I know you do too.

Reading our reviews I found myself making a list of other titles that I want to explore. It's clear that this month there are some terrific choices out there.

Many of you have written that you want to have a discussion with your book club, but cannot find a discussion guide for the material. We heard this enough that we decided to create generic guides for both Christian Fiction and Religion/Spirituality. Thus you can explore these books with your group without wondering how to get the discussion started. In the upcoming months we plan to add guides for Christian Living and Marriage/Family Life titles as well!

Enjoy these last days of January, and for the record, I would skip the closet cleaning in February too and keep this same reading theme going!

Happy reading....

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Neta Jackson, Author of THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS TOUGH

Neta Jackson used to be best known in the Christian literary world as the co-author (with her husband Dave) of a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes for young readers. Dave, however, believed she could write contemporary faith fiction --- and pointed out that all the material she'd ever need was right there in her Chicago prayer group! Now, more than 100,000 copies and four novels later, Jackson has made a name for herself with her Yada Yada Prayer Group series.'s Cindy Crosby chats with Jackson about her most recent book, THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS TOUGH, the racially-motivated slaying of her friend and co-author Ricky Byrdsong, her husband's recent brush with blindness and cancer, and a few of Jackson's New Year's "resolutions."

Racial reconciliation, forgiveness, and freedom from fear are the themes of this thoughtful fourth installment in Neta Jackson's popular Yada Yada Prayer Group series, as members of the prayer group deal with their own problems and come to the realization that they need to get tough. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Click here to read our interview with Neta Jackson and a review of THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS TOUGH.


CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE: Living in Your Sweet Spot by Max Lucado (Inspiration/Motivation)
Veteran author and pastor Max Lucado offers practical tools for exploring and identifying your own uniqueness, motivation to put your strengths to work, and the perfect prescription for finding and living in your sweet spot for the rest of your life. Whether you're a fan of Lucado or a newcomer to his work, you're likely to find a great deal here that will prove valuable to you. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

Click here to read a review of CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE.

SHOWDOWN by Ted Dekker

SHOWDOWN by Ted Dekker (Suspense)
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
A stranger named Marsuvees Black announces to the residents of Paradise, Colorado that he's come to bring hope and grace to the town. He knows the unspoken secrets of each person's heart and has the power to grant them. Meanwhile, tucked deep in the nearby canyons is a monastery long hidden from the world. Within its walls is power beyond comprehension. Yet that power is quickly slipping out of control.

Click here to read a review of SHOWDOWN.


PLAGUEMAKER by Tim Downs (Suspense)
A routine murder in New York City turns into a federal case with the discovery of thousands of exterminated fleas at the crime scene. The stakes are high when a volatile FBI agent named Nathan Donovan, his terrorism-expert ex-wife Macy, and a mysterious and refined Chinese Christian gentleman named Li Ming are pitted against Syrian terrorists and an elderly Japanese biological-weapons expert with a decades-old grudge. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

Click here to read a review of PLAGUEMAKER.

RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson

RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson (Historical Fiction)
The Reverend Hale Poser poles down the Mississippi River in his ancient pirogue to the town of Pilotville, Louisiana, humming a disturbing tune and looking for clues to his heritage. Elegant prose and suspense, along with a masterful storyteller's ability to communicate a sense of place, make this Athol Dickson tale well worth the read. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Click here to read a review of RIVER RISING.

SAVING ALICE by David Lewis --- A Tale of Second Chances

SAVING ALICE by David Lewis
Very early in life, Stephen Whittaker had determined he was never going to be like his dad, a loser in every way as far as Stephen could tell. From then on, his goal was to distance himself from those early years in Aberdeen, South Dakota. And his efforts were paying off --- top grades in high school, an ivy-league university, a great job offer with a New York law firm after he graduated...and he had an engagement ring in his pocket and the proposal all worked out for lovely, talented Alice....
Losing Alice was the event that changed everything for Stephen. Back in Aberdeen, he attempted to pick up the pieces of his life. He married best-friend Donna, and they had a precocious daughter with whom Stephen had immediately bonded. He went into business with his high school buddy, and it looked like he had things back in hand.
The gradual downward spiral began so slowly that Stephen wasn't paying attention as his life started to spin out of control. And then it was too late....Or was it?

-Click here to read an excerpt from SAVING ALICE.

About David Lewis:
In addition to writing, David Lewis is an accomplished keyboard artist and piano teacher. His debut solo novel, COMING HOME, was a bestseller. He was born in Minnesota, raised in the Midwest, and met his wife, Beverly, in Colorado, where they currently make their home.

Click here to read more about SAVING ALICE.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

LEAVE IT TO CLAIRE by Tracey Bateman (Fiction)
During her recovery from unexpected surgery, single mother and writer Claire Everett faces how disconnected she has become while immersed in her career. Scrambling to get her footing, she invents a six-steps-to-a-better-life game plan, determined to renovate everything and everyone around her. But can Claire fix her family and herself? Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin.

THE MENDING STRING by Cliff Coon (Fiction)
All is not well in the home of successful pastor and parenting expert Clayton Loverage, who has found that none of his proven techniques work on his youngest daughter. Ellen and her father live in hostility and silence that is broken only after Ellen starts trespassing regularly in her English teacher's home. Power hungry church members and menacing criminals threaten to unravel the delicate bond redeveloping between Clayton and his daughter. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

Read our Faithful Fiction reviews here.

Christian Living Reviews

GREAT DAYS WITH THE GREAT LIVES by Charles Swindoll (Devotional)
This devotional features daily insight taken from Charles Swindoll's Great Lives series. Each day, readers will find a scripture reference and a devotional thought taken straight from one of the Great Lives of the Bible. These lives show that God can do extraordinary things through ordinary men and women, and offer insightful perspective on what it means to be truly spiritual men and women after God's own heart. Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg.

CHASING DAYLIGHT: Seize the Power of Every Moment by Erwin Raphael McManus (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
In this inspiring book (formerly SEIZING YOUR DIVINE MOMENT), Erwin McManus uses the biblical account of Israel's war with the Philistines and the characters of Saul and Jonathan to demonstrate the difference between living a life of purpose and adventure, and living one of apathy and missed opportunity. Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg.

GRACE GONE WILD!: Getting a Grip on God's Amazing Gift by Robert Jeffress (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
Grace has become a part of the basic vocabulary of every Christian; unfortunately, many believers are abusing this amazing gift from God. In his candid new book, pastor and author Dr. Robert Jeffress challenges you to gain a biblical understanding of grace, and reveals how "good grace" can protect your marriage, church and relationships from confusion and even abuse. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

LIVING IN HIS PRESENCE: The Immanuel Factor by Dave Earley (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
LIVING IN HIS PRESENCE explores the Immanuel Factor in the lives of Bible characters --- that moment when they knew God was with them and their lives were forever changed. Readers are taken on a joyous journey that will satisfy their longing to experience the manifest presence of God more deeply, intimately and frequently than ever before. Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin.

THE REST OF GOD: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring The Sabbath by Mark Buchanan (Christian Living/Practical Life)
Most of us feel completely overwhelmed by endless demands and stifling routines. Even our vacations have a panicky, task-like edge to them. Widely acclaimed author Mark Buchanan states that what we've really lost is "the rest of God --- the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of himself we can know only through stillness." Reviewed by Michele Howe.

A VOICE FROM HOME: The Words You Long to Hear From Your Father by Rich Stevenson (Christian Living/Personal Growth/Self Help)
Need a serious pep talk about how much God loves you? Pastor and author Rich Stevenson calls for readers to hear the beauty and power of the words of our Heavenly Father in this slim volume of encouragement. Reading A VOICE FROM HOME is like listening to a comfortable sermon by a friendly pastor with just a touch of charismatic flavor. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

THE INVISIBLE WAR: What Every Believer Needs to Know About Satan, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare by Chip Ingram (Christianity/Spiritual Warfare)
The Bible is clear: if you are a Christian, you are at war. But our approach to spiritual warfare usually falls into one of two extremes --- either we place an undue emphasis on Satan and his powers, or we completely ignore the existence of a personal enemy. Based on Paul's teaching in Ephesians 6, THE INVISIBLE WAR shows every believer what we need to know about Satan, demons, and spiritual warfare. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

LOST WOMEN OF THE BIBLE: Finding Strength & Significance Through Their Stories by Carolyn Curtis James (Christian Living/Practical Life)
The women of the Bible have a strong, relevant message for women today that has been lost underneath layers of traditional interpretations and the expectation that God does his most important work through men. Crucial dimensions of their lives have been muted, forgotten, or passed over. This book brings the women of the Bible into the twenty-first century by recovering their powerful message for contemporary women. Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg.

40 DAYS IN GOD'S PRESENCE: A Devotional Encounter by Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Devotional)
In this forty-day journey into God's presence, you will begin to know God as more than Creator and King. Encounter the One who meets us as: the God of radical love, the God who delights in you, and the God who conquers giants. Those looking for short, scripture-based devotions with personal applications will enjoy these selections. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Marriage and Family Life Reviews

MARRIABLE: Taking the Desperate Out of Dating by Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco (Relationships/Love & Romance)
Husband and wife Michael and Hayley DiMarco explore everything from Internet dating to commitment-phobia. Writing with wit and humor, they discuss the differences between men and women, what these differences mean in a dating relationship, and ultimately how to find and be a "marriable" person. Reviewed by Michele Howe.


Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life reviews.

New Reading Group Discussion Guides on

The following Guides are now available on

RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson

Click here to read all the study guides on

What's New On Generic Discussion Guides for Christian Fiction and Religion/Spirituality Books

While we have close to 1,800 reading guides available on, and we're adding more all the time on as well, it can happen that no guide is available for the book your group has chosen to read. It can be intimidating when it's your turn to lead the discussion and you have no idea where to begin. In order to aid your discussion and enjoyment of your group's choices, we have created a list of questions that can be used for those books with no reading guides. Our Categories include Christian Fiction and Religion and Spirituality

Click here to read our list of questions. Poll: Finding Your Books

Where did you find out about the book you currently are reading?

- Read a review online
- Read a review someplace offline --- in a magazine or newspaper
- A friend or family member
- A local Christian bookseller
- A local general interest bookseller
- A librarian
- Television
- Radio
- Advertisement
- Browsing in a bookstore or library
- None of the above
- I cannot remember where I heard about it.

Answer the Poll here. Question of the Month

What book are you recommending most these days?

Answer the Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: 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 PLAGUEMAKER by Tim Downs and RIVER RISING by Athol Dickson.

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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