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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on

August 2009

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

Here Comes September....

The end of August is always a time of transition. My older son Greg moved back to college earlier this week to assist the new students with orientation. It's hard to believe that this year HE is not the new student. Packing this year was much easier. He basically rounded up the boxes that were stored in the basement, plucked some clothes from his closet and was off. It was easier emotionally to say goodbye as well since he has proven he does not disappear! My younger son Cory will be starting his first year of high school. Although September is right around the corner, I still do not feel that summer should be coming to an end so soon. June in the Northeast was cooler and wetter than usual, and I was on the road for business travel for most of July, so perhaps that is why I am a bit thrown off. But for the record, the weather improved in August, and with no business travel, I finally was able to clock in some hammock and pool floating time!

If you, like me, have children who are returning to school, you may have a bit more downtime in the coming weeks. I like to fill the empty space, whether it is a few minutes or a few hours, with reading. For those of you who are likeminded, you are in for a treat with this month’s update.

I know many book clubs take a break during the summer. This month we are featuring six new discussion guides for those of you looking to make your reading selections for the months ahead. Among our new guides are THE HOPE OF REFUGE, the first book in Cindy Woodsmall’s new series, and JUNE BUG by Chris Fabry, a beautiful novel about a girl’s quest for the truth after making a shocking discovery about her family. Both titles are this month’s Word of Mouth prizes. Read on to find out how you can enter to win them.

We are featuring an interview with Terry Brennan in which he discusses his personal journey as a writer and novelist. His debut novel, THE SACRED CIPHER, is now available in stores. Among some of the other titles we're featuring this month are BREAKING THE BARRIERS: Overcoming Adversity and Reaching Your Greatest Potential by Jason Frenn, THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS: Charles Towne Belles, Book 2 by M. L. Tyndall, MONTANA ROSE: Montana Marriages Series, Book 1 by Mary Connealy and THE BRIDE BACKFIRE: Prairie Promises Series, Book 2 by Kelly Eileen Hake.

There are also seven new reviews in our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life sections. Read on to find out more about these books, and visit the homepage to see all of this month’s newly featured titles.

As August winds down, my family and I are preparing to make our annual end-of-the-summer trip to the Outer Banks, though this year it will just be with three of us. I think Cory secretly is excited about the time he will get to spend with extra attention, though he says otherwise. My plan is to try to pick 10 books to take with me when we leave this weekend. I also am determined that the knitting project I have been working on since San Diego (the remake of a ruana that in its first go-round was knit up so big it looked like a coat) will be finished before we leave.

As Labor Day approaches, I hope you all have a happy and healthy end of the summer. To those of you with children returning to school --- or if you are even returning back to school yourself --- we here at wish you all the best. We look forward to seeing you again next month.

Carol Fitzgerald (

Author Talk: Terry Brennan, Author of THE SACRED CIPHER
Prior to publishing his debut novel, THE SACRED CIPHER, Terry Brennan worked as an award-winning journalist before focusing his attentions on managing non-profit organizations such as New York's Bowery Mission and the National Organization on Disability. In this interview, Brennan credits his book's publication to fellow writer Wanda Dyson and discusses some of the faith-based questions covered in his writing. He also recalls his unique journey toward finding his faith, shares his thoughts on the intersecting of religion and politics, and reveals what he hopes readers will take away from his work.

THE SACRED CIPHER by Terry Brennan (Suspense)
When New Yorker Tom Bohannon uncovers an ancient cipher containing a dead language that has been lost in the sands of time, he doesn’t fully comprehend the danger that’s about to unfold. Though Tom and his team of ragtag scientists and historians want to decode the ancient text, there are others who don’t want the cipher revealed. And they are prepared to kill to keep it hidden.

-Click here to see the study guide for THE SACRED CIPHER.
-Click here to read more about THE SACRED CIPHER.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SACRED CIPHER.
-Click here to read Terry Brennan's bio.

Click here to read an interview with Terry Brennan.

Study Guide Now Available: THE HOPE OF REFUGE by Cindy Woodsmall

THE HOPE OF REFUGE: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall (Fiction)
New Yorker Cara Moore has nothing and is on the run. Young Amish woman Deborah Mast has everything and is on her way to the wedding altar. When their lives collide, neither one will be the same. Can the humility and faith of Ada save either of them?

-Click here to read more about THE HOPE OF REFUGE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE HOPE OF REFUGE.
-Click here to read Cindy Woodsmall’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THE HOPE OF REFUGE.

Study Guide Now Available: JUNE BUG by Chris Fabry
JUNE BUG by Chris Fabry (Fiction)
“I believed everything my daddy told me until I walked into Wal-Mart and saw my picture on a missing child poster…” The discovery begins a quest for the truth about her father, the mother he rarely speaks of, and ultimately herself. Forces draw them back to Dogwood, West Virginia, down a winding path that will change their lives forever. Publishers Weekly calls JUNE BUG “a lovely, moving, present-day account of sacrifice.”

-Click here to read Chris Fabry’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for JUNE BUG.

Study Guide Now Available: THE BELIEVER by Ann H. Gabhart
THE BELIEVER by Ann H. Gabhart (Historical Romance)
Elizabeth Duncan has nowhere to turn. In charge of her younger brother and sister after their parents die, her options are limited. When Elizabeth hears that the Shaker community in the next county takes in orphans, she presents herself and her siblings at Harmony Hill. Despite the hard work and strange new beliefs around her, Elizabeth is relieved to have a roof overhead and food to eat. But life gets complicated when she finds herself attracted to a handsome young Believer named Ethan.

-Click here to read Ann H. Gabhart’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for THE BELIEVER.

Study Guide Now Available: SWEETWATER RUN by Jan Watson
SWEETWATER RUN by Jan Watson (Historical Romance)
“A Mule ain’t worth going to jail over,” Cara Whitt would have cried out if a woman’s words counted in a yard full of men. Dimmert didn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions, but he had his pride. She knew better than to mess with that. Award-winning author Jan Watson delivers a new historical fiction series filled with characters who are enjoyable, endearing and timeless.

-Click here to read more about SWEETWATER RUN.
-Click here to read Jan Watson’s bio.

Click here to see the study guide for SWEETWATER RUN.

Study Guide Now Available: SWEET WATERS by Julie Carobini

SWEET WATERS: An Otter Bay Novel by Julie Carobini (Romance)
There’s nothing left for Tara Sweet in landlocked Dexton, Missouri. Tara believes a move back to her childhood home of Otter Bay, California, will help restore the fun and fearlessness she’s already missing in her 20s. Playing back memories of idyllic times spent there with her father along the majestic coast, a fairytale seems just around the corner. But she soon begins to uncover shocking secrets about why her family left this heaven on earth all those years ago.

Click here to see the study guide for SWEET WATERS.

Now in Stores: BREAKING THE BARRIERS by Jason Frenn
BREAKING THE BARRIERS: Overcoming Adversity and Reaching Your Greatest Potential by Jason Frenn (Christian Living)
You can be who God wants you to be! You can break the barriers, overcome adversity, and reach your greatest potential. It’s time for you to discover the power of a relationship with God that will set you free from the chains keeping you in bondage. This book is the key to a new life. Your greatest days are ahead, and the benefits will be immeasurable. With God, all things are possible!

Click here to read more about BREAKING THE BARRIERS.

Now in Stores: THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS by M. L. Tyndall

THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS: Charles Towne Belles, Book 2 by M. L. Tyndall (Historical Romance)
Trying to forget about a painful past, Hope Westcott plunges into Charles Towne society trying to find love and acceptance. Captain Nathaniel Mason is determined to build his shipping business and doesn’t need a romantic entanglement --- especially with a woman like Hope. When Hope’s adventure-seeking puts her freedom --- and her life --- in jeopardy, will Nathaniel turn his back or follow God’s voice and sacrifice everything to save her?

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS.
-Click here to read M. L. Tyndall’s bio.

Click here to read more about THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS.

Now in Stores: MONTANA ROSE by Mary Connealy
MONTANA ROSE: Montana Marriages Series, Book 1 by Mary Connealy (Historical Romance)
When Cassie’s husband dies, leaving her and her unborn child alone, she finds herself fair game for every ill-bred, foul-mouthed suitor in town. That is, until Red Dawson steps in to make an offer. Will this “china doll” be safe in the hands of a rough-and-ruddy rancher? Although attracted to Cassie from the start, Red is reluctant to wed a nonbeliever. But it seems he has no choice. Will Red eventually win over this doll --- heart and soul?

-Click here to read an excerpt from MONTANA ROSE.
-Click here to read Mary Connealy’s bio.

Click here to read more about MONTANA ROSE.

Now in Stores: THE BRIDE BACKFIRE by Kelly Eileen Hake
THE BRIDE BACKFIRE: Prairie Promises Series, Book 2 by Kelly Eileen Hake (Historical Romance)
Come on down for a real family feud in this witty romance, the second novel in Kelly Eileen Hake's Prairie Promises series. In the Nebraskan Territory of 1857, the longstanding feud between their two families makes Opal Speck desperate to save the life of the Grogan who once pulled her from a burning building. Will her big white lie --- that Adam is the father of her unborn child --- land in enemy territory for the rest of her life? Find out how Adam and Opal deal with the repercussions of their shotgun wedding in THE BRIDE BACKFIRE!

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BRIDE BACKFIRE.
-Click here to read Kelly Eileen Hake’s bio.

Click here to read more about THE BRIDE BACKFIRE.

Faithful Fiction Reviews

THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN by Eva Marie Everson (Fiction)
The funeral of her Great Uncle Jim in Cottonwood, Georgia, becomes the setting for Jo-Lynn Hunter's midlife crisis. Uncle Jim and Aunt Stella are like grandparents, their home a safe haven. Now in her late 40s and mourning a failing marriage, Jo-Lynn chooses to extend her stay in Cottonwood to renovate their historic home into a museum. This is a story of secrets, family, and the restoration of a house and a life. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN by Deeanne Gist (Historical Romance)
Set in the timberlands north of Seattle, this latest book by Deanne Gist tells the story of a young woman who becomes A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN. When she signed a contract to work as a cook, Anna Ivey did not know that the logger who signed the other part of the contract was expecting a bride. How this all resolves makes for a delightful and thought-provoking read. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

THE END IS NOW by Rob Stennett (Fiction)
One week from tomorrow, at precisely 6:11 in the morning, the rapture or apocalypse or Armageddon or whatever else it is you’d prefer to call it, is going to occur. But only in Goodland, Kansas. The Hendersons are caught in the middle as the town --- and the family --- divides between belief and unbelief in this satirical and illuminating apocalyptic novel. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

Christian Living Reviews
HEARING JESUS SPEAK INTO YOUR SORROW by Nancy Guthrie (Christian Living/Spiritual Life)
In this paradigm-shifting book, Nancy Guthrie gently invites readers to lean in along with her to hear Jesus speak understanding and insight into the lingering questions we all have about the hurts of life: What was God’s involvement in this, and why did he let it happen? Why hasn’t God answered my prayers for a miracle? Can I expect God to protect me? Does God even care? Reviewed by Michele Howe.

THE GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL GOD: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows by James Bryan Smith (Spirituality)
We all have ideas that we tell ourselves about God and how He works in our lives. Some are true --- but many are false. James Bryan Smith believes those thoughts determine not only who we are, but how we live. In fact, Smith declares, the most important thing about a person is what they think about God. The path to spiritual transformation begins here. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.

I TOLD ME SO: Self-Deception and the Christian Life by Gregg A. Ten Elshof (Christian Living)
Think you’ve ever deceived yourself? Then this book is for you. Think you've never deceived yourself? Then this book is really for you. Honest and incisive, consistently wise and frequently funny, I TOLD ME SO offers fresh insights on how we deceive ourselves and smart strategies to combat the deceiver in all of us. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

Marriage and Family Life Review
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS HURTING: Helping Your Kids Survive the Ups and Downs of Life by Glynnis Whitwer (Parenting)
Author, editor and speaker Glynnis Whitwer identifies many of the inevitable hurts children experience --- harsh reprimands from coaches or teachers, uncaring remarks from family members or friends, troubling misunderstandings between siblings --- and gives parents practical, effective advice to handle these painful situations. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

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 THE HOPE OF REFUGE: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall and JUNE BUG by Chris Fabry. 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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