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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

November 2008

On Celebrates Five Years Talks to Max Lucado, Author of CAST OF CHARACTERS's 2008 Christmas Roundup

Now in Stores: CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS by Anne Rice

Study Guide Now Available: HOME ANOTHER WAY by Christa Parrish

Study Guide Now Available: TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON by Debbie Fuller Thomas

Study Guide Now Available: ONE HOLY NIGHT by J. M. Hochstetler

Study Guide Now Available: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by Michelle Sutton

Study Guide Now Available: RHAPSODY IN RED by Donn Taylor

Faithful Fiction Reviews

Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Review Poll Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: What You're Reading
Quick Links
Christian Living
Marriage and Family Life
Author Interviews Celebrates Five Years is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month. As I look through the archive pages and notice all of the books and author interviews that we have shared with you over the years, I proudly reflect on how has grown into a unique and inspirational resource for Christian booklovers. I would like to thank our wonderful staff and team of reviewers who make it all possible. And on behalf of the entire team, I’d like to thank all of you, our loyal readers, who make what we do such a pleasure each month.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I am sure many of you, like me, are busily preparing for the holiday with multiple trips to the grocery store, cleaning the house or finalizing travel plans. As hectic as Thanksgiving preparation can be, I value this holiday because it offers the opportunity for us to spend quality time with our families and give thanks...something that can often seem like a challenge as we juggle our many activities.

This month we are pleased to share some very special features that will encourage you to focus on the true meaning of the holidays ahead. First up is our 2008 Christmas Roundup. We have compiled a number of fiction and nonfiction titles that reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas. Whether you are searching for a good read or hoping to find the perfect gift for a fellow faithful reader, this selection of titles is a surefire way to get you in the right holiday mood.

The Book Report Network is pleased to share several other exciting promotions that reflect the spirit of the holidays. Through December 25th, we proudly present the Books as the Perfect Gifts Countdown. Each day we are sharing one reason on why a book makes the ideal gift. So if you need a reason, we have 45 of them! This feature is running across our network of websites.

We are also pleased to announce’s special seasonal blog --- Authors on the Holidays. Over the next month, more than 30 authors will share their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book during the holidays, including Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Garth Stein and more.

Looking for even more book suggestions for Christmas? Please visit our new Inspirational section of’s annual What to Give/What to Get Holiday Gift Guide, which highlights some fantastic Christian fiction and nonfiction titles. This year’s gift guide includes more than 100 books and accessories in 13 categories perfect for giving.

In addition to the holiday cheer present across our network of sites, we here at have some exciting new features in store for you. This month we are featuring FIVE new discussions guides as well as an interview with award-winning author Max Lucado, in which he talks about his new book, CAST OF CHARACTERS.

Our Word of Mouth titles this month are
JOHN 3:16 by Nancy Moser, a story about a simple act of faith that changes lives forever, and OUT OF HER HANDS by Megan DiMaria, a humorous novel about a mother searching for control in her hectic life.

We are also bringing you some great new Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life reviews, including CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GABRIEL PHILLIPS by Stephen Baldwin and Mark Tabb, JESUS WANTS TO SAVE CHRISTIANS: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden, and THE SMART GROOM’S ANSWER GUIDE: An Eye-Opening Look at Your First Year of Marriage by Phillip J. Swihart, Ph.D. and Wilford Wooten, Ph.D. Read on for more information about all of our titles.

Going back to the spirit of the holidays, this month’s poll and question ask you about giving books as gifts this holiday season. Please take a few minutes to answer, as we would love to see your responses. 

As the holidays race toward us, may you find time to reflect on what makes this time of year so special. Here’s to a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving spent with family, friends and loved ones.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks to Max Lucado, Author of CAST OF CHARACTERS

With more than 65 million copies of his 50-plus books in print, Max Lucado is arguably the hottest Christian author around. The three-time Gold Medallion Award winner has been called “America’s Pastor” by the media for his gentle and popular grace-filled stories. He still preaches part-time at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas and publishes at least one new book each year. In this interview,’s Cindy Crosby talks to Lucado about his latest title, CAST OF CHARACTERS, his plans for the future and the one addiction he still enjoys.

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God by Max Lucado (Christian Living)
Max Lucado is one of Christianity’s best-loved storytellers, and in CAST OF CHARACTERS he brings together Bible personalities from some of his bestselling books in a way that breathes new life into familiar stories. Each of the 22 men and women are chosen by Lucado to illustrate how God works through weakness to show His strength. Each has something to say to us today. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of CAST OF CHARACTERS.

Click here to read our interview with Max Lucado.'s 2008 Christmas Roundup

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! As the Advent season approaches, we at prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The books we’ve compiled in our special roundup will help you do this in a number of ways. In this feature, you’ll find fiction with an inspirational message, true stories of Christmas miracles, uplifting devotionals, picture books to share with children --- and even a guide to teas to suit the season. Our hope is that these titles will facilitate your Advent preparation and enrich your Christmas celebration.

Click here to read our 2008 Christmas roundup.

Now in Stores: CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS by Anne Rice

CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice (Memoir)
Anne Rice has written magnificent tales of otherworldly beings: novels that explore the realms of good and evil, love and alienation, pageantry and ritual, each a reflection of her own moral journey. Now, in CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS --- her first work of nonfiction --- she talks about her life as a Catholic. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

Click here to read a review of CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS.

Study Guide Now Available: HOME ANOTHER WAY by Christa Parrish

HOME ANOTHER WAY by Christa Parrish (Fiction)
Sarah Graham is living life hard and fast --- and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York, to claim her inheritance. Once there, however, she learns that her plans for the future --- and her memories of the past --- are about to change forever.

Christa Parrish's debut novel is a captivating story of a broken, isolated woman and the flawed, faithful people who help her forgive and find peace.

-Click here to read more about HOME ANOTHER WAY.
-Click here to read a review of HOME ANOTHER WAY.

Click here to see the study guide for HOME ANOTHER WAY.

Study Guide Now Available: TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON by Debbie Fuller Thomas

TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON by Debbie Fuller Thomas (Fiction)
When Marty Winslow’s 13-year-old daughter dies of a devastating genetic disease, she discovers the truth --- her precious middle child had been switched at birth. After learning that her actual biological daughter was recently orphaned, she decides to fight for custody. Winning the court case would prove to be the easy part.
This still-grieving, single mom is torn between memories and realities. And she wants desperately for God to heal her family.
-Click here to read more about TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON.
-Click here to read a review of TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON.
-Click here to read an excerpt from TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON.

Click here to see the study guide for TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON.

Study Guide Now Available: ONE HOLY NIGHT by J. M. Hochstetler

ONE HOLY NIGHT by J. M. Hochstetler (Fiction)
ONE HOLY NIGHT retells the Christmas story in a strikingly original way --- through the discovery of a baby abandoned in the manger of a church’s nativity scene. Destined to become a classic for all seasons, this book deals compassionately with the gritty issues of life --- war and violence, devastating illness, intergenerational and interracial conflict, addictions and broken relationships. This moving inspirational story will warm readers’ hearts with hope and joy long after they finish reading.

-Click here to read more about ONE HOLY NIGHT.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ONE HOLY NIGHT.

Click here to see the study guide for ONE HOLY NIGHT.

Study Guide Now Available: IT'S NOT ABOUT ME by Michelle Sutton
IT’S NOT ABOUT ME: Second Glances Series, Book 1 by Michelle Sutton (Romance)
Annie has it all. She is attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. But one night Annie’s safe world is shattered. As she fights to put the pieces of her broken life back together, against her will she is caught in a war between two brothers, both of whom claim to have her best interests at heart.

-Click here to read more about IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.
-Click here to read an excerpt from IT'S NOT ABOUT ME.

Click here to see the study guide for IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.

Study Guide Now Available: RHAPSODY IN RED by Donn Taylor

RHAPSODY IN RED by Donn Taylor (Mystery)
It certainly was a bad day to find a corpse on campus. So, recluse professor Preston Barclay and an outcast co-worker must form an unlikely alliance to stay ahead of the police, the college’s wary and incompetent administration, and whoever is trying to get away with murder. Or else they both might end up unemployed, behind bars or worse…

-Click here to read more about RHAPSODY IN RED.
-Click here to read an excerpt from RHAPSODY IN RED.

Click here to see the study guide for RHAPSODY IN RED.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GABRIEL PHILLIPS by Stephen Baldwin and Mark Tabb (Fiction)
In a small Indiana town, a veteran cop gets a late-night call to an apartment complex where domestic disturbances are a common occurrence. This time, however, what he discovers inside will change his life forever. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

ONE PERFECT GIFT: A Culdee Creek Christmas by Kathleen Morgan (Romance)
Prolific inspirational novelist Kathleen Morgan offers a light yet poignant seasonal romance for her fans in ONE PERFECT GIFT. Themes of new beginnings and the power of forgiveness carry the plot. Will there be another bride at Culdee Creek? Read on and find out. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

STEPPING INTO SUNLIGHT by Sharon Hinck (Fiction)
Victims of trauma, anxiety and phobias, as well as military spouses, will find hope and healing in STEPPING INTO SUNLIGHT. Penny Sullivan supports her husband’s career change from youth pastor to Navy chaplain. But when she is victimized in a convenience store, it sends her into a downward spiral just as her husband is deployed. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

O LITTLE TOWN by Don Reid (Fiction)
If you like the music of the Statler Brothers or the fiction of Debbie Macomber, you’ll be excited that Don Reid has made his first foray into fiction. The Grammy Award-winning songwriter pens a gentle inspiring story that will encourage readers who have challenges in their marriage, raising their children, or dealing with aging parents. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

MY MOTHER’S WISH: An American Christmas Carol by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt (Fiction)
Plummeting economy? Grim global news? Here’s just the thing to get you into the holiday spirit. In MY MOTHER’S WISH, Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, a professor and professional storyteller, invites you to follow gentle renegade Ellie McKutcheon on a whimsical trip, in which she discovers the uniqueness and beauty of ordinary people, and that all roads lead to home. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

WHITE CHRISTMAS PIE by Wanda E. Brunstetter (Romance)
Amish-themed novels are hot, hot, hot, and Wanda E. Brunstetter, with more than two million copies of her books sold, is a familiar purveyor of the genre. In WHITE CHRISTMAS PIE, she bakes up sweet Amish romance and intrigue. Set in Middlebury, Indiana, her story explores themes of belonging, forgiveness and trust. And don’t miss the yummy pie recipe. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Christian Living Reviews

JESUS WANTS TO SAVE CHRISTIANS: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden (Christian Living)
Rob Bell is back. After his wildly popular debut, VELVET ELVIS, Bell tackled the unmentionables in SEX GOD. Now he has issued a manifesto in his latest effort, JESUS WANTS TO SAVE CHRISTIANS. Written with Don Golden, it claims to be a book of theology --- and it fulfills this promise by putting some of Bell’s take on God on display in an engaging way. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

ME, MYSELF, & I AM: A Unique Question and Answer Book: The Story of You and God by Matthew Peters and Elisa Stanford (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
In Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Thus, as the title of this unique journal suggests, it expertly leads the reader to explore his or her own relationship with God. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE GREATEST WORDS EVER SPOKEN: Everything Jesus Said about You, Your Life, and Everything Else by Steven K. Scott
(Religion & Spirituality)
For the first time ever, all of the statements Jesus made in the New Testament have been brought together and organized under more than 200 topics. When you want to know His will in a specific area of life, or you’re seeking the answer to a perplexing question, or you’re desperate for His encouragement, comfort or wisdom, you can easily find the help you need. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

FINDING CALCUTTA: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service by Mary Poplin (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
Lifelong educator Mary Poplin spent two months working as a volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity several years before Mother Teresa's death. In FINDING CALCUTTA, she offers an account of the nuns' ministry to the poor from the perspective of a fellow worker. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

SOUL REPAIR: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life by Jeff VanVonderen, and Dale and Juanita Ryan (Christian Living)
Many Christians believe they are not good enough, and never will be good enough, to have a meaningful relationship with God. If you fear that He is angry with you, or wonder if He loves you, here you’ll find help to discover --- and recover from --- a distorted image of God. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

COMFORT FROM BEYOND: Real-Life Experiences of Hope in the Face of Loss edited by Evelyn Bence (Inspiration)
In COMFORT FROM BEYOND, you will read deeply moving stories of those who have experienced joyous encouragement from loved ones who have passed on. These stories are powerful, mysterious and true. Our faith tells us that ultimately we will be reunited with those we love, but it never hurts to have a little reassurance. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

CHRISTMAS MIRACLES: True Stories of Joy and Wonder from the editors of Guideposts (Inspiration)
Something special always happens at Christmas. It is a time for celebrating Christ's birth, for family and friends to get together, and for God's love and mercy to sweep over us all. In CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, readers will enjoy more than 35 true stories of the astonishing, often miraculous ways God works during this joyous season. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

IDENTITY: Who You Are in Christ by Eric Geiger (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
IDENTITY by young pastor Eric Geiger (co-author of the multi-awarded national bestseller SIMPLE CHURCH) helps Christians clearly understand who they really are as defined by various Scriptures and unpacks the practical response that goes along with each wonderfully dramatic, empowering and liberating truth. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Click here to read our Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Review

THE SMART GROOM’S ANSWER GUIDE: An Eye-Opening Look at Your First Year of Marriage by Phillip J. Swihart, Ph.D. and Wilford Wooten, Ph.D. (Family & Relationships/Marriage)
Based on the popular COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE FIRST FIVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE, this friendly resource will smooth the road whether you’ve been engaged for 10 minutes or married for 10 months. The experienced team of experts at Focus on the Family Ministries answers the questions a groom may have --- and many that he may not have discovered yet. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life review. Poll

Are you giving books this holiday season?

Not sure

Vote in our Poll here. Question of the Month
What book did you love so much that you would want to give multiple copies of it this holiday season?

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. This contest period, one winner will receive JOHN 3:16 by Nancy Moser and OUT OF HER HANDS by Megan DiMaria. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.

Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

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