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October 2014

This Month on FaithfulReader.com October 2014

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Taking Time to Enjoy the Harvest Season

Now that we are well into autumn, am I alone in thinking how fast this year is going? Fortunately, the lovely warmth of summer is taking its time to fade away, giving us the chance to admire the beautiful foliage without the weight of winter layers. Although autumn is a busy time for everyone, we at FaithfulReader.com are taking the time to really enjoy the season: the colors, the smells, and the cozy mood that signal fall’s arrival.

Another great advantage of this time of year --- the number of books being published in preparation for holiday gift-giving. Can you believe that Christmas is almost upon us? I got an email from a yarn shop with a countdown to the holidays, and I realized that if I am making presents this season, I am way behind! Luckily, books make fantastic gifts, and we already have plenty of selections to jumpstart your holiday shopping.

First, though, we wanted to call attention to Left Behind, the film version of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkinsmega-bestselling series of the same name, which is now in theaters. In this adaptation, a group of survivors is left behind when millions of people vanish from Earth. One of these survivors, pilot Rayford Steele, must juggle his frantic passengers, trying to land his plane, and fearing for his family. Meanwhile, unbelieving journalist Buck Williams struggles to understand the devastating event. I remember devouring this series and my boys reading the series for kids!

In our latest monthly contest, we’re celebrating the release of THE BRICKMAKER’S BRIDE, the first installment of Judith Miller’s Refined by Love series, by offering 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy. Ewan McKay’s uncle Hugh has purchased a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it’s up to Ewan to get it up and running. He seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and sparks begin to fly. But Laura is courting a lawyer with far more money and social influence than Ewan. When the brickmaking operation suffers a setback, Laura reveals a surprising secret --- and Ewan gets a chance to win her heart. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, November 19th at noon ET.

This month, we’re pleased to be featuring interviews with two prolific bestselling authors. First up is Lauraine Snelling, whose new book, TO EVERYTHING A SEASON, marks the beginning of her Song of Blessing series. Miriam Hastings intends to complete her training to become a nurse in Blessing, North Dakota, and then return home. But her growing attachment to local Trygve Knutson soon has her questioning all her future plans. Click here to read Lauraine’s interview conducted by Marcia Z. Nelson for Publishers Weekly.

The second interview is with Lynn Austin, who continues her Restoration Chronicles series with book two, KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT. The novel is based on the biblical story of Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar who is called upon to deliver his people from Babylon to Jerusalem and to bring hope in a time when dreams of the future seem impossible. For much more about the series, and this installment in particular, click here to read the Q&A with Lynn.

A PROMISE TO PROTECT, the second book in Patricia Bradley’s thrilling Logan Point series, is now available, thus we’re pleased to be sharing a study guide for the book. Although Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t seen nor heard from Leigh Somerall in quite some time, he can’t forget their decade-old whirlwind romance. When she unexpectedly calls him, it isn’t to talk of old love, but to request that he protects her brother, Tony. Before long, Ben finds that he must also protect Leigh from the men who are after her brother --- but the secret she’s hiding stands to change their lives forever.

Next up, we have four special features for your reading pleasure. First up is THE AUSCHWITZ ESCAPE by Joel C. Rosenberg, which is now available in paperback following its hardcover release back in March. In this historical thriller, young Jacob Weisz flees his beloved home in Germany to join an underground resistance group in Belgium. As if that were not enough, Jacob soon finds himself captured and trapped in a crowded cattle car on the way to a life of hard labor in Auschwitz. There he meets Jean-Luc Leclerc, imprisoned for helping Jews. Together the unlikely duo must find a way to escape the notorious labor camp.

Reunite with Mercy Medallion in Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley’s FINDING MERCY, the second book in their trilogy. Following the events of TRACES OF MERCY, Mercy has abandoned Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity. Followed by both Captain Hale and dangerous bounty hunters, Mercy must stay one step ahead of everyone. When she finds clues about her origins, she must learn to keep her friends and enemies at bay --- but how will she determine who they are?

Prepare for a dangerous love triangle with BUTTERMILK SKY, Jan Watson’s latest novel. Mazy Pelfrey is 18 and ready to leave her country home for the city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. But school isn’t the only thing on her mind when she meets the charming Loyal Chambers, a wealthy young man who seems to have his sights set on Mazy. There’s only one obstacle to their relationship: Chanis Clay, Mazy’s former beau.

Our last special feature is for DREAMING ON DAISIES, the third installment in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series. Leah Carlson’s family ranch is in danger, and the fiery redhead will do anything to save it. Her father’s debts, brought on by his alcoholism, have finally become too much. Now she must ask handsome banker Steven Harding for help. Although Steven cannot give her a loan, he desperately wants to assist the beautiful young woman. When his home is destroyed in a mining accident, he decides to serve as her part-time ranch hand --- until Leah’s family secrets threaten them both.

Let’s not forget this month’s reviews…we have 13 to share with you! Among them are MR. MIRACLE, Debbie Macomber’s holiday book about a guardian angel who helps a young woman prioritize her life and find love; BEFORE AMEN: The Power of a Simple Prayer, Max Lucado’s hopeful book of prayer; and VANISHING GRACE: What Ever Happened to the Good News?, an exploration of grace by Philip Yancey. We’re also delighted to present a review of ROOM AT MY TABLE: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality, a collection of 52 lovely meditations by longtime FaithfulReader.com reviewer Evelyn Bence.

As October progresses, we hope you’ll make the time to relax with at least one of these terrific reads. We will be back to you the week before Thanksgiving with a special new holiday feature and contest called "The Christmas Collection." Be sure to check back for more about that.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

Now in Theaters: Left Behind
Left Behind is an apocalyptic action-thriller movie starring Nicolas Cage based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times.

The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.

The Steele family is caught on the razor’s edge of that darkness. Ray Steele, an airline pilot, struggles to calm, and ultimately to save the lives of the passengers that remain on his flight, as the world below loses its ability to help his plane, and any other to safety. Running out of fuel, his equipment failing, his crew escalating into panic, Ray must guide the plane with the help of GWN reporter Cameron “Buck” Williams, who takes over the role of co-pilot in the face of the crisis. For Buck Williams, being trapped at 30,000 feet with a plane full of terrified passengers means a struggle to understand the incomprehensible.

On the ground, Ray’s daughter Chloe Steele struggles to find her young brother and mother, both of whom may have disappeared in the Biblical event. Forcing herself through the chaos, Chloe must navigate a world filled with terror and despair.

-Click here to read about the book.

 
Click here to read more about the film.
FaithfulReader.com’s Latest Monthly Contest: Win a Copy of THE BRICKMAKER'S BRIDE by Judith Miller
In FaithfulReader.com's latest monthly contest, 10 readers will win a copy of THE BRICKMAKER'S BRIDE, the first book in Judith Miller's Refined by Love series. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, November 19th at noon ET.

THE BRICKMAKER'S BRIDE: Refined by Love, Book 1 by Judith Miller (Historical Romance)
When Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, he has plans to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. He begins by working with a brickmaking operation recently purchased by Hugh from a Civil War widow and her daughter, Laura. But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, it is up to Ewan, with help from Laura, to save the brickworks...and maybe win Laura's heart in the process.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Judith Miller’s bio.
-Click here to visit Judith Miller’s official website.
-Connect with Judith Miller on Facebook and Twitter.

 
Click here to enter the contest.
An Interview with Lauraine Snelling, Author of TO EVERYTHING A SEASON

Lauraine Snelling has written 80 books since launching her writing career in 1982. Her latest novel, TO EVERYTHING A SEASON, marks the beginning of her Song of Blessing series. Miriam Hastings intends to complete her training to become a nurse in Blessing, North Dakota, and then return home. But her growing attachment to local Trygve Knutson soon has her questioning all her future plans. In this Publishers Weekly interview conducted by Marcia Z. Nelson, Snelling opens up about why she initially started writing, what inspires her, and how she manages to write so prolifically.

TO EVERYTHING A SEASON: Song of Blessing, Book 1 by Lauraine Snelling (Historical Romance)
Although Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community, he sometimes dreams of other horizons --- especially since meeting Miriam Hastings. Miriam is in Blessing, North Dakota, to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lauraine Snelling’s bio.
-Click here to visit Lauraine Snelling’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Lauraine Snelling on Facebook.

Click here to read the interview.
An Interview with Lynn Austin, Author of KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT
Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner and an inaugural inductee into the Christy Award Hall of Fame, as well as a popular speaker at retreats, conventions, women's groups and book clubs. Her latest novel, KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT, is the second installment in her Restoration Chronicles series. It’s based on the biblical story of Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar who is called upon to deliver his people from Babylon to Jerusalem and to bring hope in a time when dreams of the future seem impossible. In this interview, Austin discusses the themes that tie together KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT and the first book in the series, RETURN TO ME, as well as how she thinks readers will still relate to the challenges her characters faced centuries ago.

KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT: The Restoration Chronicles, Book Two by Lynn Austin (Historical Fiction)
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman and child throughout the empire in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future seem impossible.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Lynn Austin’s bio.
-Click here to visit Lynn Austin’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Lynn Austin on Facebook.

 
Click here to read the interview.
Study Guide Now Available: A PROMISE TO PROTECT by Patricia Bradley
A PROMISE TO PROTECT: Logan Point Series, Book 2 by Patricia Bradley (Romantic Suspense)
Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her --- or their whirlwind romance of 10 years ago --- out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task --- protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Click here to read Patricia Bradley’s bio.
-Click here to visit Patricia Bradley’s official website.

 
Click here for the study guide.
Special Feature: THE AUSCHWITZ ESCAPE by Joel C. Rosenberg
THE AUSCHWITZ ESCAPE by Joel C. Rosenberg (Historical Thriller)
As the Nazi war machine rolls across Europe, young Jacob Weisz is forced to flee his beloved Germany and join an underground resistance group in Belgium. But when a rescue operation goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself trapped in a crowded cattle car headed to southern Poland. Sentenced to hard labor in the Auschwitz labor camp, Jacob forms an unlikely alliance with Jean-Luc Leclerc, a former assistant pastor who was imprisoned for helping Jews. They’ve been chosen for one of the most daring and dangerous feats imaginable --- escape from Auschwitz.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Joel C. Rosenberg’s bio.
-Click here to visit Joel C. Rosenberg’s official website.
-Click here to connect with Joel C. Rosenberg on Facebook.

 
Click here for our special feature.
Special Feature: FINDING MERCY by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley
FINDING MERCY: Mercy Medallion Trilogy, Book 2 by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley (Historical Romantic Suspense)
When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her --- and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she’s from, the danger escalates. She has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer --- if she can determine which is which.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Read bios of Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley.
-Click here to visit Michael Landon Jr.’s official website.
-Connect with Michael Landon Jr. on Facebook and Twitter.

 
Click here for our special feature.
Special Feature: BUTTERMILK SKY by Jan Watson
BUTTERMILK SKY by Jan Watson (Historical Romance)
Eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. There she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she’d ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she’d left firmly behind.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Jan Watson’s bio.
-Click here to visit Jan Watson’s official website.

 
Click here for our special feature.
Special Feature: DREAMING ON DAISIES by Miralee Ferrell
DREAMING ON DAISIES: Love Blossoms in Oregon, Book 3 by Miralee Ferrell (Historical Romance)
Fiery redhead Leah Carlson will do whatever it takes to save her family ranch. Somehow, she must cover her father’s debts, brought on by his drinking --- even if it means asking handsome banker Steven Harding for a loan. When he must decline, Steven vows to assist this captivating woman. After a mining accident destroys his home, serving as her part-time ranch hand seems to be the ideal solution. Until Leah’s family secrets, and the pain of her past, come to a head.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Miralee Ferrell’s bio.

 
Click here for our special feature.
Now in Stores: MR. MIRACLE by Debbie Macomber
MR. MIRACLE: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber (Romance)
Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help 24-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track and help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store when Addie and her polar-opposite next-door neighbor, Erich, are forced to spend Christmas together. However, Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought --- and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.

 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: BEFORE AMEN by Max Lucado
BEFORE AMEN: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado (Christian Life/Prayer)
In BEFORE AMEN, bestselling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Lucado reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child. Let the conversation begin. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.

 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: VANISHING GRACE by Philip Yancey
VANISHING GRACE: What Ever Happened to the Good News? by Philip Yancey (Christian Life/Inspirational)
How can Christians offer grace in a way that is compelling to a jaded society? And how can they make a difference in a world that cries out in need? Philip Yancey aims this book at Christian readers, showing them how Christians have lost respect, influence and reputation in a newly post-Christian culture. He explores what may have contributed to hostility toward Evangelicals, especially in their mixing of faith and politics instead of embracing more grace-filled ways of presenting the gospel. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.

 
Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: WHY SUFFERING? by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale
WHY SUFFERING?: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn't Make Sense by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale (Theology/Apologetics)
Why would a loving and powerful God allow so much pain and suffering? In WHY SUFFERING?, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale carefully walk you through a variety of responses that, considered together, provide a clear, comprehensive and convincing answer. Here is a book written with great respect for the complexity of the issue, recognizing that some who read it will be in the trenches of deep suffering themselves and others questioning the very existence of a loving God. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

-Click here to read more about the book.

 
Click here to read a review.
More Reviews This Month
AGENTS OF THE APOCALYPSE: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times by Dr. David Jeremiah (Christian Life/Spiritual Warfare)
Are we living in the end times? Is it possible that the players depicted in the book of Revelation could be out in force today? And if they are, would you know how to recognize them? In AGENTS OF THE APOCALYPSE, Dr. David Jeremiah does what no prophecy expert has done before. He explores the book of Revelation through the lens of its major players --- the exiled, the martyrs, the elders, the victor, the king, the judge, the 144,000, the witnesses, the false prophet and the beast. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

LIVING COURAGEOUSLY: You Can Face Anything, Just Do It Afraid by Joyce Meyer (Christian Living/Inspirational)
Fear commonly affects our ability to live fully, holding us back from what enriches our lives and the lives of others. But our quality of life will improve when we learn how to be courageous in the face of fear. In LIVING COURAGEOUSLY, Joyce Meyer explains how, as Christians, we can overcome the paralyzing power of fear by calling upon the Lord. "Fear not" is written throughout the Bible. God knows His children will be confronted with fear, but He can help us resist it. Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

THE RELATIONAL SOUL: Moving from False Self to Deep Connection by Richard Plass and James Cofield (Christian Living)
Our ability to make deep and emotionally satisfying connections rests on the capacity to trust. No matter our conditioning, God is out to reclaim and restructure the deepest terrain of the human soul by helping us shed our reactive "False Self" and put on our receptive "True Self." Authored by counselor Dr. Richard Plass and spiritual director James Cofield, THE RELATIONAL SOUL helps readers engage in relationships in more life-giving ways. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

ROOM AT MY TABLE: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence (Devotional)
In ROOM AT MY TABLE, Evelyn Bence offers 52 delightful meditations that emphasize Christian love as the foundation of gracious hospitality. Her grace-filled readings provide spiritual inspiration for the seasoned hostess alongside gentle domestic instruction laced with realistic expectations for the novice. She even includes favorite recipes. Short closing prayers and questions for reflection allow readers to personalize Evelyn’s devotional anecdotes. Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

-Click here to read an interview with Evelyn Bence.

THE DESIRE: The Restoration Series, Book 3 by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley (Romance)
For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts --- and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments, while Allan seems content to spend his time --- and their money --- on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something has to give. But they both hope it’s not their marriage. Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they never could have imagined. Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

THE PROMISE by Beth Wiseman (Romance)
Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal --- to save a life. She had that chance years ago and failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave behind everyone she loves in order to take it. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

THE SIGN PAINTER by Davis Bunn (Fiction)
When Amy Dowell loses her husband to illness and her home to debt, she finds herself and her daughter, Kimberly, living on the streets as she struggles to find a job that will get them back on their feet again. When Amy meets Lucy Watts, the pastor in charge of the church program that fed Amy and Kimberly their latest meal, Lucy sets them up in temporary housing and gives her a lead on a job painting signs for a local auto dealership. But Amy is hesitant to let go and trust. Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

A BOUQUET OF LOVE: Weddings by Design, Book 4 by Janice Thompson (Romance)
Cassia Pappas wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, but her huge Greek family has other ideas. To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop... Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds.

THE JESUS CODE: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O. S. Hawkins (Devotional)
Jesus was always asking questions. Whether with a small group or large crowd, Jesus opened hearts and minds by asking questions that grasped attention and made one think. In THE JESUS CODE, author O. S. Hawkins poses 52 thought-provoking questions found throughout the Bible that believers should be able to answer as they grow in their faith and share their faith with others. Each question features a devotional thought to help readers find answers and promote further reflection. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

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