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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

December 2008

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cindy Woodsmall's Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy

Study Guide Now Available: HAZARDOUS DUTY by Christy Barritt

Study Guide Now Available: SUSPICIOUS MINDS by Christy Barritt

Study Guide Now Available: THE FLOWER OF GRASS by James E. Robinson

Now in Stores: ACEDIA & ME by Kathleen Norris's 2008 Christmas Roundup

Author Interviews of 2008

Coming Soon: A List of Upcoming Books

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
Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As my family and I prepare to embark on our annual Christmas retreat to the Outer Banks, I find myself double-checking the calendar every now and then to be certain that Christmas IS indeed right around the corner. Time at The Book Report Network always seems to move faster than usual, and I am looking forward to spending the final days of 2008 unwinding with my family and reflecting on this past year.

While the holidays are a time for family and spiritual rejuvenation, this can also be a very busy time of year for many of us. As 2008 draws to a close, we invite you to join us as we take some time to reflect on the many exciting features we have shared with you over the past 12 months.

Our Author Interviews of 2008 feature looks back on the exciting interviews we have spotlighted over the past year. We are also continuing to feature a heartwarming selection of fiction and nonfiction titles in our 2008 Christmas Roundup. Whether you are searching for a good read or hoping to find the perfect gift for a fellow faithful reader, these books are a surefire way to get your focus back on track.

For even more gift ideas, please visit the 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.

Please be sure to check out our other special holiday features throughout our network of websites. Our Books as the Perfect Gifts Countdown, running through Christmas Day, highlights 45 reason why books make the perfect gift. We also present our special Authors on the Holidays blog on, where more than 30 authors share their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book during the holidays.

Looking ahead to 2009, our updated Coming Soon feature gives you a sneak peak at books releasing through April. These are only a few of the titles that have caught our eye, and we look forward to sharing more about them with you in the coming months.

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 three new discussions guides as well as reviews for each title in Cindy Woodsmall’s highly-acclaimed Sisters of the Quilt trilogy.

In addition, we also hope you take a moment to browse through our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life review sections, which include Brandilyn Collins's new suspense novel DARK PURSUIT, THE LOVE AS A WAY OF LIFE DEVOTIONAL: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit by Gary Chapman and Elisa Stanford, and HOPEFUL PARENTING: Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah.

This month’s poll and question echo our holiday theme by asking you about giving books as gifts this holiday season. Please take a minute to answer, as we would love to see your responses. 

As Christmas Day approaches, we hope that you take a moment to contemplate what makes this time of year meaningful. May the celebration of Jesus' birth be one of joy for you and your loved ones. Here’s to a Merry Christmas with some new memories and the enjoyment of time-honored traditions. We look forward to seeing you in 2009. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Carol Fitzgerald (

Cindy Woodsmall's Sisters of the Quilt Trilogy

WHEN THE HEART CRIES: Sisters of the Quilt, Book 1 by Cindy Woodsmall (Fiction)
Move over, Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter. Cindy Woodsmall’s debut novel gets the Sisters of the Quilt series off to a promising start, with plenty of Amish intrigue, romance and tragedy. The author leaves plenty of loose ends dangling, so you will want to read the entire series. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of WHEN THE HEART CRIES.

WHEN THE MORNING COMES: Sisters of the Quilt, Book 2 by Cindy Woodsmall (Fiction)
The second book in Cindy Woodsmall’s Sisters of the Quilt series picks up where WHEN THE HEART CRIES ended and offers the same intriguing blend of Amish-themed romance and misfortunes. Hannah Lapp flees to Ohio and finds estranged family, healing, her identity…and new love. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of WHEN THE MORNING COMES.

WHEN THE SOUL MENDS: Sisters of the Quilt, Book 3 by Cindy Woodsmall (Fiction)
After more than two years away from her Amish community, 20-year-old Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to face her family and estranged fiancé in Cindy Woodsmall’s intriguing third installment of love and forgiveness in the Sisters of the Quilt series. Will what she finds there change her life forever? Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

-Click here to read a review of WHEN THE SOUL MENDS.

Study Guide Now Available: HAZARDOUS DUTY by Christy Barritt

HAZARDOUS DUTY: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, No. 1 by Christy Barritt (Mystery)
On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire dropped out of school and started her own crime scene cleaning business. But when a routine cleaning job leads her to a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. And the owner of the weapon --- the real guilty party --- is willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.

-Click here to read more about HAZARDOUS DUTY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HAZARDOUS DUTY.
-Click here to read Christy Barritt’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for HAZARDOUS DUTY.

Study Guide Now Available: SUSPICIOUS MINDS by Christy Barritt

SUSPICIOUS MINDS: Squeaky Clean Series, Book 2 by Christy Barritt (Mystery)
To pay off some bills, crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire takes a job doing mold remediation. But her first day on the job, she uncovers a surprise in the crawlspace of a dilapidated home: Elvis, dead as a doornail and still wearing his blue suede shoes. How could she possibly keep her nose out of a case like this? And what will happen when the ersatz Elvis’s killer catches on to her investigations?

-Click here to read more about SUSPICIOUS MINDS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SUSPICIOUS MINDS.
-Click here to read Christy Barritt’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for SUSPICIOUS MINDS.

Study Guide Now Available: THE FLOWER OF GRASS by James E. Robinson

THE FLOWER OF GRASS by James E. Robinson (Fiction)
John Allen had come home to say goodbye. But he was too late. Now faced with secrets and pain buried just beneath the service, he begins to wonder if his homecoming was maybe a bad idea. Can he truly make amends with the people in his past?

This powerful, romantic novel depicts a prodigal's return to a small town in Tennessee --- and the emotions he must face once there. An exquisitely written, passionate, and thoughtful novel, this classic love story frames deeper themes of mortality and the passage of time, the true nature of faith, and the delicate balance of human relationships.

-Click here to read more about THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
-Click here to read James E. Robinson’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THE FLOWER OF GRASS.

Now in Stores: ACEDIA & ME by Kathleen Norris

ACEDIA & ME: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life by Kathleen Norris (Memoir)
Kathleen Norris, the bestselling author of DAKOTA, brings her quiet wisdom to the problem of being unable to fully engage with life in ACEDIA & ME and illuminates it for a contemporary audience. She vulnerably traces her own journey with acedia, as well as explaining the history of acedia in literature and the church, and in light of theology and psychology.
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Click here to read a review of ACEDIA & ME.'s 2008 Christmas Roundup

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! As Christmas 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.

Author Interviews of 2008
As 2008 comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the author interviews that were featured throughout the year on This is a great way to catch up on the discussions you may have missed --- and to re-read what some of your favorite authors had to say about their books.

Click here to see our roundup of 2008 interviews.

Coming Soon: A List of Upcoming Books

If you’re wondering what books have been released recently, or are coming out in the months ahead, then be sure to check out our Coming Soon feature on Currently we have titles from December through April listed. Please note that we have not included every book being published, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.

Click here to see our Coming Soon feature.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

DARK PURSUIT by Brandilyn Collins (Suspense)
Kaitlan Sering’s estranged grandfather, novelist Darell Brooke, was the legendary King of Suspense --- until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Now she’s begging him to protect her from a real serial killer. Can his muddled mind devise a plan to catch the murderer? Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

SWEETWATER GAP by Denise Hunter (Romance)
When Josephine's family insists she come home to help with the harvest, the timing works. But her return isn't simple benevolence --- she plans to persuade them to sell the failing orchard. The new manager's presence is making it difficult. Grady MacKenzie takes an immediate disliking to Josephine and becomes outright cantankerous when she tries talking her family into selling. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

RHAPSODY IN RED: A Preston Barclay Mystery by Donn Taylor (Mystery)
Mystery lovers, especially those who like their murders set in academia, will welcome Donn Taylor’s RHAPSODY IN RED, featuring a history professor with a penchant for getting into trouble. Preston Barclay is a recent widower who, with an attractive colleague, arrives first at a murder scene. The two must team up to discover the killer --- or be charged with the murder themselves. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

WAITING FOR DAYBREAK by Kathryn Cushman (Fiction)
When a young, dedicated pharmacist is used as a scapegoat in a wrongful death lawsuit, she moves headlong into a series of events that catapults her life from bad to worse. She continues to pray for strength, guidance and a miracle or two, but soon feels her requests are falling on deaf ears. How can she continue believing when even the new man in her life turns out to be a traitor? Reviewed by Susan Miura.

A CONSTANT HEART by Siri Mitchell (Historical Romance)
Born with the face of an angel, Marget Barnardsen is blessed. Her father is a knight, and now she is to be married to the Earl of Lytham. But when her introduction to court goes awry and Queen Elizabeth despises her, Marget fears she has lost her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she'll do whatever it takes to discover how she failed and capture again the love of a man bound to the queen. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

BEFORE THE SEASON ENDS: A Regency Inspirational Romance by Linore Rose Burkard (Regency Romance)
In her debut novel of what she calls “spirited romance for the Jane Austen soul,” author Linore Rose Burkard tells the intriguing story of Miss Ariana Forsythe, a young woman caught between her love for a man who doesn’t share her faith and her resolution to marry only a fellow believer in Christ. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Christian Living Reviews

THE LOVE AS A WAY OF LIFE DEVOTIONAL: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit by Gary Chapman and Elisa Stanford (Devotional)
To become a person who consistently loves others, you first need to be a loving person. In this companion devotional to LOVE AS A WAY OF LIFE, you’ll find inspiration for letting love guide the way you respond to others in every situation. The daily readings capture God’s wisdom and direction in practicing the seven traits of a loving person. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

THE GREEN BIBLE: Understand the Bible's Powerful Message for the Earth, foreword by Desmond Tutu (Religion & Spirituality)
As it says in THE GREEN BIBLE, when Martin Luther was asked what he would do if Jesus was coming tomorrow, he responded, “Plant a tree.” It’s time for Christians to become good stewards of the beautiful world God has entrusted us with --- and THE GREEN BIBLE is a great resource to get started. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

WHY FAITH MAKES SENSE: Reasons You Can Believe God Is Real by Will Davis Jr. (Christian Life)
Christians are often made to feel stupid, gullible, even irrational for their beliefs. WHY FAITH MAKES SENSE shows that believing isn't foolish at all. It counters common objections and encourages your faith by examining: why the Bible is a trustworthy source; six holes in the evolutionary theory; the problem with Humanism; how faith and reason fit together; and the undeniable evidence for God. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Nothing matters more than relationships --- and no one understands them better than Jesus. Based on an exhaustive study of what Jesus did and said about relationships, this book guides readers on a 40-day journey that will bring new health and richness to their marriages, families, friendships, and all the relationships in their lives. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

THE FIRSTBORN ADVANTAGE: Making Your Birth Order Work for You by Dr. Kevin Leman (Self-Help)
Dr. Kevin Leman identifies the qualities of firstborns. But just because you're the firstborn child in your family doesn't mean you'll have a firstborn personality. Dr. Leman helps firstborns understand their natural advantages --- while becoming aware of their weaknesses and learning how to sidestep them --- for the highest level of personal success at home, at school, at work and in relationships. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

WHEN GOD BREAKS YOUR HEART: Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances by Ed Underwood (Christian Life)
Pastor Ed Underwood faced a challenge to his faith in the form of chronic leukemia. Though he prayed for and believed in God's healing, as the days slipped by and his pain became unbearable, Ed's heart was broken by a simple realization: The God who could do anything was not helping him. Yet a revelation from God's Word changed his heart and life forever. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

ASSAULTED BY JOY: The Redemption of a Cynic by Stephen W. Simpson (Christian Living)
ASSAULTED BY JOY follows the growth and spiritual renewal of a self-proclaimed “jerk” who discovers the inescapable tension between joy and suffering. Each chapter recounts events --- from the suspenseful to the heartbreaking to the hysterical --- that teach lessons about God, life, love, marriage and the assaulting joy of being a new father. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

TELL IT SLANT: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers by Eugene H. Peterson (Christian Living)
Consummate pastor and professor Eugene Peterson explores parables in Luke and Gospel prayers to show how Jesus used language when talking with His friends, His followers and His Father. What does it mean for us as we communicate with others and with God? Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Click here to read our Christian Living Reviews

Marriage and Family Life Review

HOPEFUL PARENTING: Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah (Parenting)
Parenting is far from easy. From first steps to first dates, parenthood is filled with unique challenges. Yet there is no greater joy than nurturing one of God's most precious gifts. New York Times bestselling author David Jeremiah presents a heartwarming look at adventures in parenting. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

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 KIDNAPPED by Dee Henderson. 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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Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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