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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

June 2009

Quick Links to Features on

Reviews, Features, About the Books, Excerpts, Study Guides, Award Winners, Coming Soon

Reading: The Perfect Way to Spend a Rainy Afternoon

I feel like I lived in Seattle for most of the month. The rain has left the New York metropolitan area in a perpetual state of damp, and has prevented me from utilizing my favorite summer reading spot --- my hammock. Thus, when the clouds parted this past weekend I literally ran outside, occasionally looking up to make sure I was not only imagining the sunny sky.

Readers take heart. There are a lot of things that you cannot do in the rain, but you always can read in the rain. So forget the forecast. This summer’s plans can include a book no matter what the weather brings.

In this month’s robust update, we are thrilled to share a wide variety of titles that will be excellent companions, regardless of the weather. We are featuring interviews with Patti Lacy, author of AN IRISHWOMAN’S TALE and WHAT THE BAYOU SAW, and Deborah Vogts, author of SNOW MELTS IN SPRING. If you are interested in reading more about the authors’ inspirations behind their work, this is always a resourceful feature to check out.

We have added 10 (!) new discussion guides this month. While some of you in book clubs may be taking a break for the summer, these titles will inspire both conversation and ideas for your fall selections. Two other titles we are featuring this month are CRITICAL CARE, the first book in Candace Calvert’s new medical romance series and one of this month’s Word of Mouth titles, and NEVER THE BRIDE by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge, a humorous story about a woman searching for love. FORSAKEN by James David Jordan is our second Word of Mouth title.

Last month we held two very special contests. In the first, three readers had the opportunity to each win a finished copy of A GIFT OF GRACE by Amy Clipston, which is now in stores, as well as an authentic Amish gift basket. You may see our winners here. In our second contest, 45 readers had the opportunity to win a finished copy of
SAINTS IN LIMBO by River Jordan. Click here to see our winners.

Read on to see our new Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life reviews; and visit the homepage to see all of this month’s newly featured titles. With this week’s forecast calling for scattered thundershowers in the Northeast, I am already organizing my “to-be-read” pile next to the couch in the living room. At least I clocked in some hammock time this past weekend. Luckily, it looks like it will be sunny for the Fourth of July.

As June comes to a close, I am reminded that the beginning of summer often signifies the end of the school year and, for some, the beginning of a new chapter. My younger son Cory graduated from middle school last week and is off to high school in September. I included a picture of us together above. To all of you who have graduated or have recent graduates in the family, congratulations and best wishes!

Here’s to a happy Independence Day and a summer full of sun, fun and outdoor reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Author Talk: Patti Lacy, Author of AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE and WHAT THE BAYOU SAW
Patti Lacy is the author of two works of Christian fiction, AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE and WHAT THE BAYOU SAW. In this interview, Lacy discusses the inspiration behind her vivid and colorful settings, and describes the rewarding aspects of being a published writer. She also reveals what she likes to do during her downtime and shares details about her next book, tentatively titled MY NAME IS SHEBA.

AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE by Patti Lacy (Fiction)
Mary Freeman’s earliest memory has haunted her since childhood: An old oak table, bitter faces drinking bitter tea, a heated discussion of what’s to be done with the “little eejit” --- her. Now she is far removed from this family that didn’t want her, and separated from her native Ireland. But a crisis in her youngest daughter’s life --- and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant --- propels Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in Country Clare, Ireland. Her harrowing journey unveils her tragic past, and forces her face-to-face with God.

here to see the study guide for AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE.
here to read more about AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE.
here to read an excerpt from AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE.
here to read Patti Lacy's bio.

WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy (Fiction)
Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened when she was almost 12 years old.

Now a teacher in Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten the past. But when one of her students is violently attacked, Sally’s memories of segregation, a chain link fence and a blood oath bubble to the surface.

here to see the study guide for WHAT THE BAYOU SAW.
here to read more about WHAT THE BAYOU SAW.
here to read an excerpt from WHAT THE BAYOU SAW.

Click here to read an interview with Patti Lacy.

Author Talk: Deborah Vogts, Author of SNOW MELTS IN SPRING
In this interview, Deborah Vogts discusses her inspiration behind SNOW MELTS IN SPRING --- the first installment of her Seasons of the Tallgrass series --- and explains the role faith plays in her writing. She also recounts her journey to becoming a published author and shares what she hopes readers will take away from her work.

SNOW MELTS IN SPRING: Seasons of the Tallgrass, Book 1 by Deborah Vogts (Romance)
Mattie Evans, a young veterinarian in rural Kansas, saves a horse injured in a terrible accident. But she also finds herself tending the wounded relationship between a prodigal son and his ailing father. Love, conflict, forgiveness and renewal drive the first book of the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.

here to read more about SNOW MELTS IN SPRING.
here to read an excerpt from SNOW MELTS IN SPRING.

Click here to read an interview with Deborah Vogts.

Now in Stores: NEVER THE BRIDE by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge
NEVER THE BRIDE by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge (Fiction)
Eleven bridesmaid dresses don’t lie.

When God becomes a live-in-the-flesh part of Jessie Stone’s life, Jessie is skeptical. After all, most men wind up disappointing her. Could God really have a better love story in mind? A romantic comedy with a spiritual twist, NEVER THE BRIDE is about losing control and getting more than any woman could ever imagine.

Click here to read more about NEVER THE BRIDE.

Now in Stores: CRITICAL CARE by Candace Calvert

CRITICAL CARE by Candace Calvert (Fiction)
“ER” move over… Candace Calvert’s new Medical Hope Opera series has arrived!

If you’re a fan of TV medical drama, a reader who enjoys charismatic characters, action, humor, romance --- with an encouraging message of hope --- CRITICAL CARE is for you. Think: “Grey’s Anatomy” finds its soul!

-Click here to read more about CRITICAL CARE on
-Click here to read Candace Calvert’s bio.

Click here to read more about CRITICAL CARE.

Study Guide Now Available: FORSAKEN by James David Jordan

FORSAKEN by James David Jordan (Thriller)
What would it take for you to renounce your faith in Christ? Author James David Jordan confronts readers with this challenging question in his new book, FORSAKEN. A unique love story wrapped in an action thriller, FORSAKEN is the first of a two-book series featuring Taylor Pasbury, a beautiful but troubled former Secret Service agent hired by the world’s most famous televangelist after he receives terrorist threats.

-Click here to read more about FORSAKEN.
-Click here to read James David Jordan’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for FORSAKEN.

Study Guide Now Available: THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN by Eva Marie Everson

THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN by Eva Marie Everson (Fiction)
Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it’s the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her husband.

But beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo-Lynn doesn’t know about her family holds just as many surprises.

-Click here to read more about THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN.
-Click here to read Eva Marie Everson’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN.

Study Guides Now Available: HALLIE'S HEART and MORNINGSONG by Shelly Beach
HALLIE’S HEART by Shelly Beach (Fiction)
Mona VanderMolen, an antique dealer in a small Michigan town, is trying to keep her business alive. As Mona faces the uncertainties of her own future, Hallie, Mona's 15-year-old niece, suddenly arrives on her doorstep. Guilt-ridden over her sister's drowning several years earlier, Hallie has run off to her aunt's cottage. As the two women work through their problems and learn to forgive, will an unfortunate accident tear them apart once again?

HALLIE’S HEART won a Christy Award in 2008.

-Click here to see the study guide for HALLIE’S HEART.
-Click here to read more about HALLIE’S HEART.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HALLIE’S HEART.
-Click here to read Shelly Beach’s bio.

MORNINGSONG by Shelly Beach (Fiction)
In this highly-anticipated follow-up to the Christy Award-winning HALLIE’S HEART, a terrifying accident on the shores of Lake Michigan has shattered Mona’s life and left her with disabling injuries.

Just when she thinks things couldn’t get worse, trouble comes looking for Mona again. And trouble’s name is Hallie. A brewing family storm and Hallie’s hidden fears are the last thing Mona wants to deal with. But can she turn away her sister? Even as the dark clouds continue to roll in, a hope waits for both of them --- if only they can catch their breath long enough to find it.

-Click here to see the study guide for MORNINGSONG.
-Click here to read more about MORNINGSONG.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MORNINGSONG.
-Click here to read Shelly Beach’s bio.

Study Guide Now Available: ESSIE IN PROGRESS by Marjorie Presten

ESSIE IN PROGRESS by Marjorie Presten (Fiction)
Can Essie continue to juggle her job, her motherly duties, her impulsive husband and a forlorn father-in-law who has taken up residence in a dilapidated sailboat?

For every well-meaning, time-starved wife and mother, ESSIE IN PROGRESS is a clever foray into a life so harried and yet so familiar. Writing with a unique style and genuine Southern sensibility, author Marjorie Presten offers a stirring message about discovering and embracing life as it’s meant to be lived --- the life God wants for you.

-Click here to read more about ESSIE IN PROGRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ESSIE IN PROGRESS.
-Click here to read Marjorie Presten’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for ESSIE IN PROGRESS.

Study Guide Now Available: BERTIE'S WAR by Barbara Blakey

BERTIE’S WAR by Barbara Blakey (Fiction)
Bertie wants to be a good kid, but her fear keeps tripping her up and she finds herself tumbling into embarrassing, and sometimes dangerous, situations. By the time Bertie enters seventh grade in the fall of 1961, it seems like the whole world has gone crazy --- and taken Bertie along with it. As news of the Cuban Missile Crisis throws the nation into a panic, Bertie will be forced to confront her fears face-to-face, both at school and at home.

-Click here to read more about BERTIE’S WAR.
-Click here to read an excerpt from BERTIE’S WAR.
-Click here to read Barbara Blakey’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for BERTIE’S WAR.

Study Guide Now Available: TALKING TO THE DEAD by Bonnie Grove

TALKING TO THE DEAD by Bonnie Grove (Fiction)
In this tender, quirky debut novel about embracing life, Bonnie Grove patiently walks readers through the depths and mysteries of extreme sorrow after the death of a loved one. As she takes an unflinching look at the mental health industry, Grove’s training in counseling and psychology brings realism and empathy to grief and mental breakdown. While Kate must confront her own loss to find the grace to go on, readers will be led to the God who is always willing and able to comfort hearts in pain.

-Click here to read more about TALKING TO THE DEAD.

Click here to see the study guide for TALKING TO THE DEAD.

Faithful Fiction Reviews
GHOSTWRITER by Travis Thrasher (Suspense)
Now a widower, author Dennis Shore is finally alone in his house, his daughter attending college out of state. When he's stricken by a paralyzing case of writer's block and a looming deadline, Dennis becomes desperate. Against better judgment, he claims someone else's writing as his own, accepting undeserved accolades for the stolen work. He thinks he's gotten away with it…until he's greeted by the true author of the stolen manuscript. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

A FLICKERING LIGHT: Portraits of the Heart, Book 1 by Jane Kirkpatrick
(Historical Romance)
It was a time of economic hardship for many when even 14-year-old girls were expected to get jobs that would contribute to the family’s support. Jessie Gaebele was no exception. But little did she know how being apprenticed to FJ Bauer would ignite her passion not only for photography but for forbidden romance as well. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list --- a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES by Marlo Schalesky (Fiction)
Childhood sweethearts Kinna and Jimmy Henley had simple dreams --- marriage, children, a house by the sea…everything they needed for happily ever after. What they didn’t plan on was years of infertility, stealing those dreams, crushing their hopes. Now, all that’s left is the memory of young love, and the desperate need for a child to erase the pain. Until… Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Christian Living Reviews
THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR CHRISTIANS: The Essential Guide for a God-Honoring Life by Charles R. Swindoll (Christian Life)
Written for all believers, THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR CHRISTIANS captures the essentials of the Christian life in simple, inspiring terms. Clear biblical teaching and pastoral instruction encourages readers onto the Christian life they long for…and can have. It just takes a God-given desire for obedience and the practical applications this book teaches. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

RELEARNING JESUS: How Reading the Beatitudes One More Time Changed My Faith by Matthew Paul Turner (Christian Life)
Join popular author Matthew Paul Turner on a spiritual journey to discover just who Jesus is. Filled with Turner's spot-on humor, incisive insights and no-holds-barred transparency, RELEARNING JESUS offers readers a fresh perspective on their faith and a reintroduction to their Saviour. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF GOD: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness by R. Albert Mohler Jr. (Christian Living)
As biblical scholar, author, and president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler writes, “The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack.” With wit and wisdom he tackles the most important aspects of these modern issues. In the age-old battle to preserve the foundations of faith, it's up to a new generation to confront and disarm the contemporary shams and fight for the truth. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

LIVING THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Way of the Disciple by Albert Haase, OFM (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
Hidden in the Lord’s Prayer is a complete picture of our life with God. Albert Haase examines each line, to explore a deeper understanding of this teaching of Jesus and explain how it can shape us spiritually as we grow in Christ. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Marriage and Family Life Review
LOVE IS A VERB: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive, by Gary Chapman (Christian Life/Love & Marriage)
Rather than a typical marriage self-help book filled with lengthy explanations of principles and techniques, LOVE IS A VERB is a compilation of true stories displaying love in action. These stories --- written by everyday people --- go straight to the hearts of readers, who often say that illustrations are the most effective parts of a book. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life review.

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 FORSAKEN by James David Jordan and CRITICAL CARE by Candace Calvert. 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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--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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