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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on FaithfulReader.com

January 2011


Quick Links to Features on FaithfulReader.com


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

A Snowy Start to 2011!

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start --- and that you're doing a lot less shoveling than we are! It seems every week brings a new storm to the Northeast and lots of snow, slick roads and school cancellations. I don't mind it as much during the weekends, when I'm home with a stack of books and a crackling fire in the fireplace, but the weather has made for some tough driving. As I write this, ANOTHER big storm is due in the New York/New Jersey area by midweek. Old Man Winter just won't quit!

We last sent out a newsletter right before Christmas, so we have lots of catching up to do. I sincerely hope that all your holidays were relaxing and reflective, enjoyed with lots of family, friends and fond memories.

Our first update of 2011 is a big one! It's highlighted by a special contest for Janelle Mowery's WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE, the first book in her Colorado Runaway series. It's about Bobbie McIntyre, a tomboy who is more comfortable in a saddle than in a gown, and her attempts to become more ladylike to gain the attention of ranch owner Jace Kincaid. We have 75 copies of the book to give away to readers. All you have to do is enter here by Monday, February 28th at noon ET for your chance to win.

We have six new study guides to share with you: THE SEARCH: Lancaster County Secrets, Book 3 by Suzanne Woods Fisher; FATAL JUDGMENT: Guardians of Justice, Book 1 by Irene Hannon (which we're also giving away in our latest monthly contest); ANGEL SISTER by Ann H. Gabhart; STARS COLLIDE: Backstage Pass, Book 1 by Janice Thompson; LADY IN THE MIST: The Midwives, Book 1 by Laurie Alice Eakes; and A SEASON OF MIRACLES by Rusty Whitener. These are six great titles to jumpstart your book group in the new year!

We shine our feature spotlight on POSSESSION by Rene Gutteridge, in which a detective tries to make a fresh start for his family after a traumatic case, and THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS by Patti Lacy, about a former con artist whose past comes back to haunt her, her new family and her husband's grand ambitions.

We also have a very special interview with Melody Carlson about her young adult novel, NEVER BEEN KISSED. We're featuring this book on Teenreads.com, but its message and themes about bullying are ones all should read regardless of age. It's about a teenager hoping for that first, special kiss only to become trapped in an Internet bullying scandal. I think it's a book teens and parents can learn a lot from, so I'm glad to share it here, too. You can read our review here and our interview with Melody here.

And let's not forget the new reviews added to our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life sections. Among them are SOFTLY AND TENDERLY by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck, SOULPRINT: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson and WHEN COUPLES WALK TOGETHER: 31 Days to a Closer Connection by Cindi and Hugh McMenamin.

Hopefully signs of spring will begin peeking their head out by the next newsletter. Of course, I'll gladly welcome it sooner than later!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)


Special Contest and Feature: WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE by Janelle Mowery

We are celebrating the release of WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE by Janelle Mowery --- an adventurous novel of faith, hope and love in the Wild West --- with a special contest. Seventy-five readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of this first installment in the Colorado Runaway series. The deadline for entries is Monday, February 28th at noon ET.

WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE: Colorado Runaway Series, Book 1 by Janelle Mowery (Historical Romance)
Bobbie McIntyre dreams of running a ranch of her own. Raised without a mother and having spent most of her time around men, she knows more about wrangling than acting like a lady. The friendship of her new employer awakens a desire to learn more about presenting her feminine side, but ranch life keeps getting in the way. Ranch owner Jace Kincaid figures the Lord is testing his faith when a female wrangler shows up looking for work. Bobbie has an uncanny way of getting under his skin, though, and he’s surprised when she finds a home next to his heart. But when his cattle begin to go missing and his wranglers are in danger from some low-down cattle thief, can Jace trust God, even if it may mean giving up on his dreams?

-Click here to read more about WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WHEN ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE.

-Click here to read Janelle Mowery’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Study Guide Now Available: THE SEARCH by Suzanne Woods Fisher

THE SEARCH: Lancaster County Secrets, Book 3 by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Romance)
As a child caught up in a crisis, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision with far-reaching effects. Fifteen years later, when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge --- the very town in which that decision was made --- she is forced to face the past and discover how her decision has impacted so many. Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm helping her intimidating grandmother Bertha recover from surgery. It doesn't take long for Bess to realize that her grandmother coaxed her to Stoney Ridge for an entirely different reason. But once Bess meets hired hand Billy Lapp, the summer starts to hold some promise.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide, and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

-Click here to read more about THE SEARCH.
-Click here to read Suzanne Woods Fisher’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for THE SEARCH.


Study Guide Now Available: FATAL JUDGMENT by Irene Hannon

FATAL JUDGMENT: Guardians of Justice, Book 1 by Irene Hannon (Romantic Suspense)
U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward Liz haven't warmed in the five years since she lost her husband --- and Jake's best friend --- to possible suicide. How can Jake be expected to care for the coldhearted workaholic who drove his friend to despair?

-Click here to read more about FATAL JUDGMENT.
-Click here to read Irene Hannon’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for FATAL JUDGMENT.


Study Guide Now Available: ANGEL SISTER by Ann H. Gabhart

ANGEL SISTER by Ann H. Gabhart (Historical Fiction)
It is 1936, and Kate Merritt, the middle child of Victor and Nadine, works hard to keep her family together. Her father slowly slips into alcoholism and his business suffers during the Great Depression. As her mother tries to come to grips with their situation and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to it, it is Kate who must shoulder the emotional load. Who could imagine that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what the Merritts need?

-Click here to read more about ANGEL SISTER.
-Click here to read Ann H. Gabhart’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for ANGEL SISTER.


Study Guide Now Available: STARS COLLIDE by Janice Thompson

STARS COLLIDE: Backstage Pass, Book 1 by Janice Thompson (Romance)
Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy don't just play two people who are secretly in love on a television sitcom --- they are also head over heels for each other in real life. When the lines between reality and TV land blur, they hope they can keep their relationship under wraps. But when Kat's grandmother, an aging Hollywood starlet with a penchant for wearing elaborate evening gowns from Golden Age movies, mistakes their on-screen wedding proposal for the real deal, things begin to spiral out of their control. Will their secret be front-page news in the tabloids tomorrow? And can their budding romance survive the onslaught of paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed in-laws?

-Click here to read more about STARS COLLIDE.
-Click here to read a review of STARS COLLIDE.

-Click here to read an excerpt from STARS COLLIDE.
-Click here to read Janice Thompson’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for STARS COLLIDE.


Study Guide Now Available: LADY IN THE MIST by Laurie Alice Eakes

LADY IN THE MIST: The Midwives, Book 1 by Laurie Alice Eakes (Historical Romance)
By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets: the names of fathers of illegitimate children, the level of love and harmony within many a marriage, and now the identity of a man who may have caused his wife's death. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, what he, a British nobleman, is doing on American soil working as a bondsman in the home of Mayor Kendall, a Southern gentleman with his eye on a higher office. By chance one morning before the dawn has broken, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths on a misty beachhead, leading them on a twisted path through kidnappings, death threats, public disgrace, and…love?

Can Tabitha trust Dominick? What might he be hiding? And can either of them find true love in a world that seems set against them?

-Click here to read more about LADY IN THE MIST.
-Click here to read an excerpt from LADY IN THE MIST.
-Click here to read Laurie Alice Eakes’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for LADY IN THE MIST.


Study Guide Now Available: A SEASON OF MIRACLES by Rusty Whitener

A SEASON OF MIRACLES by Rusty Whitener (Fiction)
Looking back on the 1971 Little League season, Zack Ross relives the summer that changed his life…

Gunning for the championship is all that matters until 12-year-old Zack meets Rafer, a boy whose differences make him an outcast but whose abilities on the baseball field make him the key to victory. Admired for his contribution to the team, Rafer turns everyone’s expectations upside down, bestowing a gift to Zack and his teammates that forces them to think --- is there more to life than winning or losing? And what is this thing called grace?

-Click here to read more about A SEASON OF MIRACLES.
-Click here to read an excerpt from A SEASON OF MIRACLES.
-Click here to read Rusty Whitener’s bio.

Click here to read the study guide for A SEASON OF MIRACLES.


Now in Stores: POSSESSION by Rene Gutteridge

POSSESSION by Rene Gutteridge (Suspense)
In the aftermath of investigating the D.C. sniper case, police detective Vance Graegan is burned out on life and love. Hoping to save his marriage, he quits the force and moves his wife and son to the other side of the country. But when the movers decide to hold his belongings for ransom, Vance is determined to ensure that his family’s new beginning is not ruined. Soon, though, losing his possessions becomes the least of his problems as everything they are fighting for begins to unravel in the hands of Vance’s past.

-Click here to read more about POSSESSION.
-Click here to read an excerpt from POSSESSION.

-Click here to read Rene Gutteridge’s bio.

Click here to read a review of POSSESSION.


Now in Stores: THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS by Patti Lacy

THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS by Patti Lacy (Historical Fiction)
Sheila Franklin has masqueraded as the precocious daughter of avant-garde parents in colorful 1940s New Orleans, a teen desperate for love and acceptance, and an unwed mother sent North with her shame. After marrying Edward, Sheila artfully masks her secrets, allowing Edward to gain prominence as a conservative pastor. When one phone call from a disillusioned Vietnam veteran destroys her cover, Sheila faces an impossible choice: save her son and his beloved…or imperil Edward’s ambitions.

Inspired by a true story, THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS intermingles jazz, classical and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS.
-Click here to read Patti Lacy’s bio.

Click here to read more about THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS.


Teenreads.com's Special Feature: NEVER BEEN KISSED by Melody Carlson

Award-winning author Melody Carlson is sweeping readers away with her latest book, NEVER BEEN KISSED, which follows a vibrant transfer student as she tries to land her first kiss before her 16th birthday, only to find herself accused of sexting and expelled from school after acting on some really bad advice. In this interview with Teenreads.com’s Usha Rao, Carlson explains why she wanted to explore these issues in a novel, elaborating on how the Internet has opened new avenues for bullying and what teens can do to help take responsibility for their actions. She talks about the importance of making schools a better place, speculates on the similarities between her heroine and THE SCARLET LETTER’s Hester Prynne, and reveals how she churns out so many bestselling books.

NEVER BEEN KISSED by Melody Carlson (Fiction)

Summer is ending, and for once that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She’s hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life. What she wasn’t counting on was all the new pressure --- to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she’s on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?

-Click here to read more about NEVER BEEN KISSED.
-Click here to read a review of NEVER BEEN KISSED.

-Click here to read an excerpt from NEVER BEEN KISSED.

-Click here to read Melody Carlson’s bio.

Click here to read Teenreads.com's interview with Melody Carlson.


Faithful Fiction Reviews

SOFTLY AND TENDERLY by Sara Evans, with Rachel Hauck (Fiction)
A happily married business owner, Jade longs to start a family with her husband --- until she finds out that he wants her to help raise an illegitimate son. She flees to her childhood home, and as the tug of her first love grows, Jade starts to question everything. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

MAY COOLER HEADS PREVAIL: Hometown Mysteries by T.L. Dunnegan (Mystery)
Psychologist Dixie Tanner quickly gets sucked into her wacky relatives’ amateur sleuthing efforts. As they get closer to the truth, will their crazy antics get them all killed or be just the thing to solve a murder? Reviewed by Lynda Schab.

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.


Christian Living Reviews

SOULPRINT: Discovering Your Divine Destiny by Mark Batterson (Christian Life)
Having an identity crisis? Trying to figure out your life’s purpose? Mark Batterson’s new book will help you discover who --- and whose --- you are so you can realize your divine destiny and glorify God, the creator of your unique soulprint. Reviewed by Lynda Schab.

A COLLECTION OF WEDNESDAYS: Creating a Whole from the Parts by Amy Gaither Hayes (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
Amy Gaither Hayes, the daughter of Bill and Gloria Gaither, opens up her journal, written on Wednesday mornings, sharing prose and poetry that connect the threads of her heritage, faith, and love of the arts with her life as mother, drama teacher and house-church leader. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

SOUL SHAPING: A Practical Guide for Spiritual Transformation by Stephen W. Smith (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
A guide to spiritual transformation, SOUL SHAPING is anchored in scripture and filled with practical exercises. Challenging readers to look backward and forward, inward and outward, this book is an invitation to see yourself as you are and imagine who you can become --- an opportunity to explore the hands of God that shape your life. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

ALWAYS TRUE: God’s 5 Promises When Life is Hard by James MacDonald (Christian Life)
2 Peter 1:13 refers to certain portions of God’s Word as exceedingly great and precious promises. Great promises reveal hope in the midst of difficult times, and precious promises hold us up enough to get us through. Digging into theology, Pastor James MacDonald points you to promises that are always true. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.


Marriage and Family Life Reviews

WHEN COUPLES WALK TOGETHER: 31 Days to a Better Connection by Cindi and Hugh McMenamin (Love & Marriage/Devotional)
Everyday life almost always pulls husbands and wives in different directions. And when they’re together, work, children and other duties make it hard to find quality time alone. In this 31-day devotional, you’ll find fun and meaningful ways to nourish closeness and intimacy, interwoven with prayer, scripture and anecdotal tips. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

BECOMING YOUR HUSBAND’S BEST FRIEND: Secrets to Loving the Man You Married by Lisa and David Frisbie (Love & Marriage)
Do you want to help your husband be more loving and attentive? Do you long for a new level of partnership and fun? You can make a difference yourself by inviting God to be the change in you. These inspiring stories and insights reveal how it happens --- and how you can become a better friend than he ever imagined. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

Click here to read our Marriage and Family Life reviews.


FaithfulReader.com's Monthly Contest: FATAL JUDGMENT by Irene Hannon

In our latest monthly contest, one reader will receive a copy of FATAL JUDGMENT, the first installment in Irene Hannon’s Guardians of Justice series. The deadline for entries is Monday, February 28th at noon ET.

FATAL JUDGMENT: Guardians of Justice, Book 1 by Irene Hannon (Romantic Suspense)
U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward Liz haven't warmed in the five years since she lost her husband --- and Jake's best friend --- to possible suicide. How can Jake be expected to care for the coldhearted workaholic who drove his friend to despair?

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, his feelings slowly start to change. When it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life --- and his heart --- are in mortal danger.

Full of the suspense and romance, FATAL JUDGMENT launches a thrilling series featuring three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice.

Click here to enter our monthly contest.


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

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