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Late March 2010

This Month on FaithfulReader.com

Late March 2010

 

Happy Easter!

I'm writing this opener from the Outer Banks in North Carolina after two jampacked weeks in the Pacific Northwest that were wonderfully bookish and enlightening. Our family retreats to the Outer Banks a couple times each year, and it has become a real reflex place for me. After a day of horrific rain, the skies are beautiful and I'm getting lots of reading and knitting done (I brought boxes of both with me!) --- and am enjoying the company of my family and our neighbors along the beach. We're looking forward to celebrating Easter together.

The highlight of my business trips the past two weeks actually had nothing to do with business. In Portland I got to reunite with my friend, Elinor Nuxoll, who I hadn't seen in nearly 40 years. I was 13 when I read an informative, well-written article by Elinor in Horoscope magazine about Simon and Garfunkel, my favorite singers. I wrote her a letter asking how she got to know the duo so well. She responded, and we've been pen pals ever since.

I visited with Elinor when I arrived in Portland and walked through her apartment, enjoying all the photos of her with her family. She's received several honors for her charity work, which were quite inspiring. Of course, we talked books and the titles she's currently reviewing before joining her daughter, Beverly, for dinner. Following our meal, we visited her son Merritt's house. I had never personally met her children, but knew much about them from our letters over the years. This was truly a special visit for me, and I'm so happy to be able to share it. Elinor has been such a special friend for me over the years.

Among the many authors who I was able to catch up with at the Public Library Association Conference was Robin Jones Gunn. We both love turquoise and were humored when we met up at her publisher's booth wearing the same color.

We have lots of new content to share with you. HER MOTHER'S HOPE, the first installment in Francine Rivers's eagerly anticipated two-book saga, is now in stores. Read our review, the study guide, and a Booklist feature article in which Rivers shares her thoughts about the book. I loved this book and can see why it's already such a huge hit with readers.

We are currently featuring three giveaways on the site. Twenty readers will win a copy of HERE BURNS MY CANDLE by Liz Curtis Higgs, a family saga set in 18th-century Scotland. Ten readers will be awarded a copy of Cathy Liggett's BEADED HOPE, a story about a group of women who take a mission trip to South Africa and witness not only the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, but also the unwavering faith of the people. And we're giving away 20 copies of Michael J. Sullivan's debut novel, NECESSARY HEARTBREAK, about a father and daughter who find themselves transported to ancient Jerusalem during Jesus' final week. Read on for more details about the giveaways and how to enter.

Michael J. Sullivan is also one of two interviews we're featuring on the site. You can learn about his inspiration for NECESSARY HEARTBREAK, as well as some of the personal obstacles he faced that helped shape his story, in this interview. We also have an interview with Judith Miller, whose SOMEWHERE TO BELONG is the first novel in her Daughters of Amana series. In the interview, Miller discusses how she researched the Amana colonies and what made her want to write about them.

Additional content includes a guide for THE BIG 5-OH! by Sandra D. Bricker, about a woman dealing with her 50th birthday, and eight reviews in our Faithful Fiction, Christian Living, and Marriage and Family Life sections. Among them are THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTER, the first installment in Colleen Coble's Mercy Falls series; LETTERS FROM THE LAND OF CANCER, Walter Wangerin Jr.'s moving account of his life after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer; and REAL WORLD PARENTS: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World by Mark Matlock.

We are also pleased to present the finalists for this year's Christian Book Awards, which recognize books in six categories: Bibles, Bible Reference & Study, Christian Life, Fiction, Children & Youth, and Inspiration & Gift. The winners will be announced on May 3rd.


If you haven't done so yet, please take a look at this year's Easter roundup. There's quite a variety in this feature, and titles for everyone in the family to enjoy. It's always a lot of fun putting this list together, and seeing the children's books really brings back memories of Easter celebrations of years past. I wish you all a happy and healthy Easter. May you have time to read and reflect during this holy time.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

 

Study Guide Now Available: HER MOTHER'S HOPE by Francine Rivers
HER MOTHER’S HOPE: Marta’s Legacy, Book 1 by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)
The first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California.

-Click here to read more about HER MOTHER’S HOPE.
-Click here to read a review of HER MOTHER’S HOPE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HER MOTHER’S HOPE.
-Click here to see Booklist’s feature article on Francine Rivers.

-Click here to read Francine Rivers’s bio.
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Visit Francine Rivers’s official website, www.FrancineRivers.com.
 
Click here to see the study guide for HER MOTHER'S HOPE.

 

FaithfulReader.com's Easter Roundup

Spring is a time of rejoicing and rebirth, both in nature and in faith. In celebration of the Easter season and the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we at FaithfulReader.com have selected a wide range of literature that will connect with you on a spiritual and emotional level. These works will remind you of the trials and tribulations that Jesus faced --- all in the name of love for His people.
 
Click here to see our roundup of Easter titles.

 
Special Contest and Feature: HERE BURNS MY CANDLE by Liz Curtis Higgs
We are celebrating the release of HERE BURNS MY CANDLE by Liz Curtis Higgs --- a story of family secrets set in feudal Scotland --- with a special contest. Twenty readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book.

HERE BURNS MY CANDLE by Liz Curtis Higgs (Historical Fiction)
Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. Her husband has his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips, while his mother conceals gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. One by one the family’s secrets begin to surface, as bonny Prince Charlie rides into Edinburgh to claim the crown. From award-winning novelist Liz Curtis Higgs comes a timeless saga of loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of 18th-century Scotland.

-Click here to see the study guide for HERE BURNS MY CANDLE.
-Click here to read more about HERE BURNS MY CANDLE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from HERE BURNS MY CANDLE.
-Click here to read Liz Curtis Higgs’s bio.

 
Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Special Contest and Feature: BEADED HOPE by Cathy Liggett
We are celebrating the release of BEADED HOPE by Cathy Liggett --- a story of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa --- with a special contest. Ten readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book.

BEADED HOPE by Cathy Liggett (Fiction)
Four American women, all with their own challenges, embark on a mission trip to South Africa. Their lives are changed as they encounter a group of South African women who suffer from AIDS yet demonstrate great joy and faith in the face of overwhelming adversity. When the Americans discover the amazing beadwork that has been taught to generations of women in the community, they uncover a way to help these proud people support their families by selling their craft.


-Click here to see the study guide for BEADED HOPE.
-Click here to read more about BEADED HOPE.

-Click here to read a review of BEADED HOPE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from BEADED HOPE.

-Click here to read Cathy Liggett’s bio.
 
Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Special Contest and Feature: NECESSARY HEARTBREAK by Michael J. Sullivan

We are celebrating the release of NECESSARY HEARTBREAK by Michael J. Sullivan --- an imaginative novel about a father who has lost his faith --- with a special contest. Twenty readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of the book.

NECESSARY HEARTBREAK by Michael J. Sullivan (Historical Fiction)
Michael Stewart has weathered his share of hardships: a troubled childhood, the loss of his mother, even the degradation of living on the city streets. Now he’s raising his teenaged daughter, Elizabeth, on his own and doing the best he can at work and at home. But he’s turned his back on his faith --- that is, until the morning Michael and Elizabeth volunteer for a food pantry at their local church. While storing boxes in the basement, they step through a mysterious door…and find themselves in first-century Jerusalem during the tumultuous last week of Jesus Christ’s life.


-Click here to see the study guide for NECESSARY HEARTBREAK.
-Click here to read more about NECESSARY HEARTBREAK.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NECESSARY HEARTBREAK.
-Click here to read an interview with Michael J. Sullivan.
-Click here to read Michael J. Sullivan’s bio.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 
Study Guide Now Available: THE BIG 5-OH! by Sandra D. Bricker

THE BIG 5-OH! by Sandra D. Bricker (Romance)
Olivia Wallace has a birthday curse…or so she thinks. It was a broken heart on her 16th, a car accident on her 21st, pneumonia on her 30th, and a fall down a flight of stairs on her 35th. But now, as her 50th birthday creeps up the icy Ohio path toward her, her hair has grown back, her energy level is up, and she is officially cancer free. It makes her nervous. After everything she’s gone through, Liv hates the idea of driving on icy roads and returning to work as an O.R. nurse in a local Cincinnati hospital.

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Click here to read more about THE BIG 5-OH!
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BIG 5-OH!
-Click here to read Sandra D. Bricker’s bio.

 

Click here to see the study guide for THE BIG 5-OH!

 
Author Talk: Judith Miller, Author of SOMEWHERE TO BELONG
Judith Miller is the author of numerous works of historical and period fiction, including the Broadmoor Legacy and Postcards from Pullman series. Her latest novel, SOMEWHERE TO BELONG, is the first installment in a new series that centers on members of the Amana Colonies, which were religious communal villages in Eastern Iowa. In this interview, Miller explains how she first became interested in writing about this German Christian community, and discusses her struggles in accurately portraying them as unique from the religious societies we read about today. She also elaborates on some of the themes at the center of the story --- including those of trust, spirituality and familial relationships --- and draws similarities between this book and previous titles in her backlist.

-Click here to read more about SOMEWHERE TO BELONG.

 
Click here to read an interview with Judith Miller.

 
Author Talk: Michael J. Sullivan, Author of NECESSARY HEARTBREAK

Michael J. Sullivan’s debut work of fiction, NECESSARY HEARTBREAK, is the first installment in a trilogy about a father and daughter who travel back in time to experience firsthand the final days of Jesus Christ. In this interview, Sullivan discusses the events in his life that served as inspiration behind this novel and explains what prompted him to turn to writing books amidst his successful career as a sportswriter. He also describes his own personal struggles with faith and hints at where the second book in the series will take his characters.

-Click here to read more about NECESSARY HEARTBREAK.
-Click here to read an excerpt from NECESSARY HEARTBREAK.

 

Click here to read an interview with Michael J. Sullivan.

 
The 2010 Christian Book Award Finalists
On March 29th, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) announced the finalists for the 2010 Christian Book Awards. Presented annually since 1978, the awards recognize books in six categories: Bibles, Bible Reference & Study, Christian Life, Fiction, Children & Youth, and Inspiration & Gift. Narrowed from over 220 submissions by 33 ECPA publishers, five finalists from each category are selected based on editorial excellence, as well as category-specific criteria. The overall winners will be announced on Monday, May 3rd, during an Industry Awards Banquet at ECPA’s annual Executive Leadership Summit in Nashville, TN.
 
Click here to see the finalists for the 2010 Christian Book Awards.

 
Reading Group Guides Now Available on Teenreads.com: ANYTHING BUT NORMAL by Melody Carlson and OUT WITH THE IN CROWD by Stephanie Morrill
ANYTHING BUT NORMAL by Melody Carlson (Fiction)
She thought she’d left the summer behind…

This year should be the best of Sophie Ramsay’s life. She’s friends with all the right people, she’s a shoo-in for editor of the school newspaper, and she managed to turn the head of one of the hottest guys in school.

But something’s not quite right. Sophie has a secret --- one she won’t be able to keep under wraps for much longer.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for ANYTHING BUT NORMAL.

OUT WITH THE IN CROWD: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt #2 by Stephanie Morrill (Fiction)
Skylar Hoyt may have vowed to change her partying ways, but it’s not so easy to change her friends. She’s trying hard to live a new life, but her old one is constantly staring her in the face. Add to that two parents battling for her loyalty, a younger sister struggling with a crisis pregnancy, and a new boyfriend wishing for more of her time, and Skylar feels like she can’t win. After all, how do you choose favorites among the people you love most? Don’t miss the second novel in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series.


-Click here to see the reading group guide for OUT WITH THE IN CROWD.

 
Faithful Fiction Reviews

THE LIGHTKEEPER’S DAUGHTER: Mercy Falls, Book 1 by Colleen Coble (Historical Romance)
Growing up as the lightkeeper's daughter on a remote island at the turn of the century, Addie Sullivan has lived a hardscrabble life. When a long-lost and wealthy relative finds her and enlists her to work as a governess at a lavish estate, she hopes to discover the truth of her heritage. But at Eaton Hall, nothing is as it seems. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.


THE CLOUDS ROLL AWAY: Raleigh Harmon, Book 3 by Sibella Giorello (Suspense)
Closing her assignment with the FBI's Seattle office, forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, expecting a warm welcome. Instead she finds herself investigating an ugly cross burning at a celebrity's mansion and standing in the crosshairs of her boss at the Bureau. And the deeper Raleigh digs into the case, the murkier the water becomes...until she's left wondering who the real victims might be. Reviewed by Marcia Ford.

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON by Leanna Ellis (Fiction)
Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died under mysterious circumstances on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later --- divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical --- she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

 

Click here to read our Faithful Fiction reviews.

 
Christian Living Reviews

BEAUTIFUL THINGS HAPPEN WHEN A WOMAN TRUSTS GOD by Sheila Walsh (Christian Life)
Author and speaker Shelia Walsh opens wide her lifelong battle with trust and the moment-by-moment choices she made to follow where God led. Walsh has lived a life ruled by "hidden places" of insecurity and brokenness and knows the overwhelming beauty of a life wholly handed over to Christ. Reviewed by Michele Howe.


LETTERS FROM THE LAND OF CANCER by Walter Wangerin Jr. (Christian Living/Personal Growth)

Award-winning writer Walter Wangerin Jr., diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer, sent his friends periodic letters, which he now he shares with readers. Seldom has the great adventure of life and death been as beautifully presented as it is in this testimony to faith, love and the shocking reality of hope. Reviewed by Evelyn Bence.

AFTER YOU BELIEVE: Why Christian Character Matters by N. T. Wright (Religion & Spirituality)
From the author of the acclaimed SIMPLY CHRISTIAN and SURPRISED BY HOPE comes a book that addresses the question that has plagued humans for centuries --- what is our purpose? It's easy to become preoccupied with who gets into heaven; the real challenge is how we are going to live in the here and now. Reviewed by Margaret Oines.


FINDING THE GROOVE: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith by Robert Gelinas (Christian Living)
Drawing parallels between the body of Christ and the qualities inherent to jazz, Robert Gelinas points us beyond the ordinary to the often overlooked freedom, beauty, grace, unity, creativity and power that are our birthright as believers. Reviewed by Lisa Cockrel.

 

Click here to read our Christian Living reviews.

 
Marriage and Family Life Review
REAL WORLD PARENTS: Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World by Mark Matlock (Parenting)
Culture expert and veteran youth pastor Mark Matlock will help you become a proactive parent when it comes to the faith of your children. Rather than trying to raise kids who are “good Christians,” you'll find the tools to help you live out a faith that allows your children to see what it means to live as a Christian. As a result, your kids will learn about real faith by living it out with you. 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 HER MOTHER'S HOPE: Marta's Legacy, Book 1 by Francine Rivers and SOMEWHERE TO BELONG: Daughters of Amana, Book 1 by Judith Miller. 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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Happy reading! Don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend or to visit our other websites from TheBookReportNetwork.com: Bookreporter.com, ReadingGroupGuides.com, GraphicNovelReporter.com, Teenreads.com, Kidsreads.com, AuthorsOnTheWeb.com and AuthorYellowPages.com.

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

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