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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on FaithfulReader.com

August 2010


Quick Links to Features on FaithfulReader.com


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

So Long Summer!

I know summer really doesn't end until late September on the calendar, but with Labor Day fast approaching, you just can't help but say goodbye...and wonder where it all went! When the kids start going back to school and regular routines settle back in, you just have to say, "Well, that was fun!" Even the weather here in the Northeast has turned a bit, from sticky humidity to some cooler, crisper days. The recent rain was nice, especially for my gardens, but it's starting to overstay its welcome.

We recently installed a fire pit at our house, something I've been wanting for a long, long time. The timing was perfect as it was set up and glowing just in time for all of us to enjoy it as a family, as my older son, Greg, will be heading back to school next week. It's been a lot of fun to enjoy the open fire together (even though the smoke always seems to drift my way). I look forward to reading by the fire this fall on some cool evenings. We're headed to the Outer Banks Friday as our official send-off to summer. Longtime readers know how special that area is to us and how welcome we always feel when we're there. Sadly Greg will not be there this year, but we will rally on. Here's hoping some final fun moments of summer await you, too!

We're hosting three contests on FaithfulReader.com, beginning with Susan May Warren's LICENSED FOR TROUBLE. This is the third book in Warren's popular PJ Sugar series, and this time the lovelorn private investigator considers taking on a case for the mysterious handyman helping her renovate. Five lucky readers will receive a copy of the book. All you have to do is enter here by Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

The second contest we're hosting is for THE PIRATE QUEEN by Patricia Hickman. Saphora Wilson is the envy of her friends and the picture of Southern wealth, but underneath the glamour she knows her husband is unfaithful. She is finally ready to deal with the issue until he confesses his terminal illness, and the two take refuge in a quaint town. We have 25 copies to give away to readers who enter here by Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

Our final contest is for STILL HOUSE POND by Jan Watson, a historical novel about a mother and father desperately searching for their daughter following a train crash. This emotional story also has some great history about the railway expansion. We're giving away five copies to readers who enter here by Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

We also have two excellent interviews this month from bestselling author Cecil Murphey and debut novelist Tessa Afshar. Murphey discusses WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED, a powerful guide to helping a loved one through a painful past. Afshar talks about PEARL IN THE SAND, her debut historical novel about a courtesan and a powerful leader of Judah who find a renewed sense of faith and love in each other.

Additional new titles we're featuring include FRIENDSHIP FOR GROWN-UPS by Lisa Whelchel, who some of you may remember from the hit sitcom "The Facts of Life," LOVE REMAINS by Kaye Dacus and SURRENDER THE HEART by MaryLu Tyndall. We're also sharing two series features from our Teenreads.com site --- Universally Misunderstood by Kristin Billerbeck and The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt by Stephanie Morrill --- that will appeal to teen readers and some adult ones as well.

Among our reviews this month are ANGEL SONG by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews, and HEART OF MY HEART: 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood: A Devotional by Kristin Armstrong.

Please enjoy the unofficial end of summer with family, friends, books and maybe even a barbecue. We look forward to seeing you next month.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)


Special Contest and Feature: LICENSED FOR TROUBLE by Susan May Warren

We are celebrating the release of LICENSED FOR TROUBLE by Susan May Warren --- a romance about a private investigator who considers taking on a case for her mysterious contractor --- with a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of this third installment in the PJ Sugar series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

LICENSED FOR TROUBLE by Susan May Warren (Romance)
PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she’s inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect --- PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister’s house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ’s investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max’s case without dropping the ball?

-Click here to read more about LICENSED FOR TROUBLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LICENSED FOR TROUBLE.
-Click here to read Susan May Warren’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Special Contest and Feature: THE PIRATE QUEEN by Patricia Hickman

We are celebrating the release of THE PIRATE QUEEN --- about a woman who embarks on a trip of self-discovery after an illness rocks her family --- with a special contest. Twenty readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of Patricia Hickman’s latest contemporary novel. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

THE PIRATE QUEEN by Patricia Hickman (Fiction)
The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon --- and a philanderer. Saphora plans a secret getaway until she is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.

-Click here to read more about THE PIRATE QUEEN.
-Click here to read a review of THE PIRATE QUEEN.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE PIRATE QUEEN.
-Click here to read Patricia Hickman’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Special Contest and Feature: STILL HOUSE POND by Jan Watson

We are celebrating the release of STILL HOUSE POND by Jan Watson --- a historical novel about parents searching for their daughter in the wake of a train crash --- with a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of this second installment in the Troublesome Creek series. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET.

STILL HOUSE POND by Jan Watson (Historical Fiction)
Lilly Gray Corbett loves living on Troublesome Creek, but she would much rather play with her best friend than watch her little brother and the twins. Her mama, Copper, is often gone helping to birth babies, and Lilly has to stay home. When Aunt Alice sends a note inviting her to visit in the city, Lilly is excited to go, and Copper reluctantly agrees to let her. Later, when they hear the news that the train crashed, Copper and her husband, John, rush to find out if their daughter is injured…or even alive.

-Click here to read more about STILL HOUSE POND.
-Click here to read an excerpt from STILL HOUSE POND.
-Click here to read Jan Watson’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


FaithfulReader.com Talks to Cecil Murphey, Author of WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED
Former pastor, school teacher and speaker Cecil Murphey has written over 100 books, including the Don Piper collaborations 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN and HEAVEN IS REAL. In this interview with FaithfulReader.com’s Marcia Ford, Murphey reveals what inspired his most personal work yet --- WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED --- and explains what he hopes readers will learn from his difficult experiences. He also sheds light on some of the popular misconceptions about victims and perpetrators of abuse, shares his thoughts on the need for forgiveness, and discusses several projects currently in the works.

WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation by Cecil Murphey (Christian Life/Social Issues)
For all women who know and love a survivor of sexual assault, bestselling author Cecil Murphey has penned WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED, an honest and forthright book about helping the man in your life survive --- and thrive --- despite past abuses. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

-Click here to read a review of
WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED.
-Click here to read Cecil Murphey’s bio.

Click here to read an interview with Cecil Murphey.


Author Talk: Tessa Afshar, Author of PEARL IN THE SAND
Tessa Afshar’s PEARL IN THE SAND is a historical romance set during biblical times in ancient Israel about a former courtesan who finds true love with one of the leaders of Judah. In this interview, Afshar discusses the themes of love, desire and redemption found throughout the book, as well as the trip she took that inspired her debut novel. She also talks about the heavy research she conducted not just on the history and geography central to the story, but also on the languages, and her future writing plans.

PEARL IN THE SAND by Tessa Afshar (Historical Romance)
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel? Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes. Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.

-Click here to read more about PEARL IN THE SAND.
-Click here to read Tessa Afshar’s bio.

Click here to read an interview with Tessa Afshar.


Now in Stores: FRIENDSHIP FOR GROWN-UPS by Lisa Whelchel

FRIENDSHIP FOR GROWN-UPS: What I Missed and Learned Along the Way by Lisa Whelchel (Christian Living)
An actress since childhood, Lisa Whelchel (of “The Facts of Life” fame) knew how to put her best face forward. But eventually she realized how lonely she was and risked being vulnerable. Her journey of friendships with women shows pitfalls to avoid and graces to gain. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

Click here to read a review of FRIENDSHIP FOR GROWN-UPS.


Now in Stores: LOVE REMAINS by Kaye Dacus

LOVE REMAINS: The Matchmakers, Book 1 by Kaye Dacus (Romance)
Every grandmother wants to see her grandchildren happy, especially when it comes to their love lives. Join five active senior ladies --- and one gentleman --- who take a great interest in the lives and loves of their single grandchildren and become The Matchmakers. Zarah Mitchell and Bobby Patterson become the first focus of meddling grandmothers when he moves back to Nashville to work for the Tennessee Criminal Investigations Unit. Will Zarah be able to forgive the man who years ago chose a military career over her --- especially when she learns he is investigating the historic preservation agency for which she works?

-Click here to read an excerpt from LOVE REMAINS.
-Click here to read Kaye Dacus’s bio.

Click here to read more about LOVE REMAINS.


Now in Stores: SURRENDER THE HEART by MaryLu Tyndall

SURRENDER THE HEART: Surrender to Destiny Series, Book 1 by MaryLu Tyndall (Historical Romance)
Relive the rich history of the War of 1812 through the eyes of Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, who both long to please their families but neither one wishes to marry the other. Noah is determined to get his cargo to England before war breaks out, and Marianne is equally determined to have a wedding so that her inheritance can be unlocked and her destitute family saved. When their stubborn games get them captured by a British warship, can they escape and bring liberty to their country --- and growing love?

-Click here to read an excerpt from SURRENDER THE HEART.
-Click here to read MaryLu Tyndall’s bio.

Click here to read more about SURRENDER THE HEART.


Series Feature on Teenreads.com: Universally Misunderstood by Kristin Billerbeck
In an interview with Teenreads.com's Melanie Smith, Kristin Billerbeck discusses what inspired her latest work of fiction for young adults, PERFECTLY DATELESS, and shares her thoughts on some of the struggles today's teenagers face regarding peer pressure, conformity, and our current highly sexualized world. She also elaborates on the messages she hopes both readers and their parents will take away from her work, and hints at what's in store for main character Daisy Crispin in the next installment of the series.

PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel by Kristin Billerbeck (Fiction)
Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem --- her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, wears lame homemade clothes, and possesses no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem.

Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempts to completely ruin her life?

-Click here to read a review of PERFECTLY DATELESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from PERFECTLY DATELESS.
-Click here to read the discussion guide for PERFECTLY DATELESS.


Click here to read Teenreads.com's series feature for Universally Misunderstood.


Series Feature on Teenreads.com: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt by Stephanie Morrill
Stephanie Morrill's latest book, SO OVER IT, is the final installment in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy, which centers on a confident, popular high school senior looking to turn over a new leaf. In this interview with Teenreads.com's Alexis Burling, Morrill explains why she decided to create a protagonist so different from herself when she was in high school, and addresses some of the "controversial" topics covered in her books. She also reveals the real-life counterparts of her main characters, describes which scenes were the most difficult to write, and reveals why she's taking a well-deserved hiatus between projects.

THE REINVENTION OF SKYLAR HOYT Series by Stephanie Morrill (Fiction)
Welcome to the world of Skylar Hoyt, a high school senior whose exotic Hawaiian looks have propelled her to the height of the "in" crowd, but who's no longer sure that's where she really fits. New friends, old friends, a reluctant romance, and a family crisis swirl around Skylar as she tries to keep it together and figure out who she really wants to be.

-Read reviews of
ME, JUST DIFFERENT, OUT WITH THE IN CROWD and SO OVER IT.
-Read excerpts from
ME, JUST DIFFERENT, OUT WITH THE IN CROWD and SO OVER IT.


Click here to read Teenreads.com's series feature for The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt.


Faithful Fiction Reviews
ANGEL SONG by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman (Fiction)
When Annie Fletcher returns to Charleston to see her younger sister, Sarah, receive her master's degree, she finds herself riding in the back of an ambulance, watching helplessly as Sarah fights for life. During the ride, Sarah appears to talk to someone who is not there, humming a melody Annie has never heard before. Neighbor Ethan McKinney is there to lend a shoulder when Sarah unexpectedly dies.
Reviewed by Susan Miura.

RESURRECTION IN MAY by Lisa Samson (Fiction)
After graduating college, May Seymour vigorously celebrates and winds up on the side of a rural Kentucky road, too hung over to even stand. Only God could have sent Claudius Borne down that street, setting in motion a series of events and a lifelong friendship between the impetuous graduate and the aging farmer. When a trip to Rwanda shatters May’s world and leaves her half dead, that friendship becomes her lifeline. But is it enough? Reviewed by Susan Miura.

NAOMI AND HER DAUGHTERS by Walter Wangerin Jr. (Fiction)
Imagine Naomi as a young mother in Bethlehem, long before her widowhood and before Ruth joined her family. Walter Wangerin Jr. uses the biblical books of Judges and Ruth to explore themes of love, faith, grief and community during a time of war and political instability.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

NEVER LET YOU GO by Erin Healy (Thriller)
A rare novel that will satisfy a wide range of readers, NEVER LET YOU GO explores the high-stakes decisions played out in the thin spaces between heaven and earth. As the enemy's grip tightens around protagonist Lexi Solomon, she will have to decide what's truly worth holding on to. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.


Christian Living Reviews

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: How Your Life Matters by Andy Andrews (Self-Help/Motivational)
Speaker Andy Andrews shares a compelling and powerful story about a decision one man made over a hundred years ago, and the ripple effect it's had on us individually, and nationwide, today. It's a story that will inspire courage and wisdom in the decisions we make, as well as affect the way we treat others through our lifetime.
Reviewed by Michele Howe.

JESUS DIED FOR THIS?: A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ by Becky Garrison (Christian Life)
Who is Jesus, really, and what is he up to these days? Becky Garrison invites you to laugh and ponder in her self-proclaimed “travelogue of a religious satirist’s search for the risen Christ.” At the crux of this sojourn is thoughtful and articulate consideration of how we “lost” Jesus in the first place. Garrison suggests that real spiritual discernment involves looking for Jesus rather than serving him up. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

PERMISSION TO SPEAK FREELY: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace by Anne Jackson (Religion & Spirituality)
In May 2008, Anne Jackson asked a question on her blog: "What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?" The question came from Jackson's experience of being afraid to reveal herself to other Christians.
PERMISSION TO SPEAK FREELY is the unique project from Jackson, who is finished with keeping brokenness in the dark. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

UNTAMED: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon by Lisa Harper (Christian Living)
Too many people settle for relating to Jesus merely as a comfortable friend and companion, when what we all need is an untamed Savior, a fearless champion tough enough to conquer our shame and compelling enough for us to follow him without hesitation. Lisa Harper invites you to engage with the Jesus of the gospels, a person so provocative that no one left an encounter with Him unchanged.
Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.


Marriage and Family Life Review
HEART OF MY HEART: 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood: A Devotional by Kristin Armstrong (Devotional)
Whether God is using Kristin Armstrong to raise children or the children to grow Armstrong, He is present in every moment and every page. This warm, real and insightful devotional celebrates the journey of growth mothers take with their children. It is on this intimate, daily walk that mothers can gain the courage to rely on God and emerge as a better woman. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life review.


FaithfulReader.com's Monthly Contest: FATAL CONVICTIONS by Randy Singer and THE NEGOTIATOR by Dee Henderson
This month, one reader will receive a copy of FATAL CONVICTIONS by Randy Singer and THE NEGOTIATOR by Dee Henderson. All you have to do is fill out the form found here by Wednesday, September 29th at noon ET, and you will be entered to win these two books.

FATAL CONVICTIONS by Randy Singer (Legal Thriller)
Alexander Madison is part lawyer, part pastor, and part con artist. When a Muslim imam is accused of instigating honor killings, Alex must decide whether to take the case that every other lawyer in town is running away from. He doesn’t realize until it’s too late that defending the imam may cost him the one thing in life he cares about most. FATAL CONVICTIONS is the story of a lawyer willing to risk it all and the women who must choose between faith and love.

THE NEGOTIATOR: The O’Malley Series, Book 1 by Dee Henderson (Romantic Suspense)
The first book in the bestselling series by Dee Henderson introduces the O'Malleys, an inspirational group of seven former orphans who made the choice to become a loyal and committed family. Their stories are told in inspirational romantic suspense novels that will rock your heart and restore strength to your spirit.

Click here to enter our monthly contest.



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--- Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

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