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February 2014

This Month on FaithfulReader.com February 2014

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A Short Month = Another Robust Update

Happy February! This may be the shortest month of the year, but as always, we have plenty of news and wonderful fiction and nonfiction titles to share with you. Between snowstorms, we worked double time; with a lot of bad weather, that's been a LOT of zipping along. How many more days until spring? Not that we are counting or anything!

First up are three contests you'll want to consider entering. WHERE COURAGE CALLS is Janette Oke’s first prairie romance in 14 years, which she co-wrote with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. To celebrate, we’re giving 15 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book, which is a special companion to Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart" TV series. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

Also up for grabs is IT HAD TO BE YOU, the second installment in Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series, a romance about hockey and the unlikely bond between two people. We have five copies to give away; all you have to do is fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

DEATH BY THE BOOK is the latest prize book in our monthly contest. In the second installment of Julianna Deering’s mystery series, Drew Farthering finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered. To be among the 15 winners who will be awarded the book, please fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

Leslie Gould returns with the third book in her Courtships of Lancaster County series, MINDING MOLLY. Here, Molly Zook is struggling with her mother's wish that she marry Mervin Mosier to save the family farm, especially after she meets tall, muscular and confident Leon Fisher. She tries her hand at matchmaking, but her efforts quickly go awry. Click here to read more about the book and here for an interview with Leslie to gain more insight into the series and her writing routine.

THE SENTINELS OF ANDERSONVILLE tells a gripping tale of the inhumane deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers at the end of the Civil War, and how three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the atrocities and learn the cost of compassion. Read more about Tracy Groot's latest work of historical fiction here, and click here for an excerpt.

We also have an excerpt available for CLAIMING MARIAH, in which an unlikely romance springs up between Mariah Malone and Slade Donovan, the young man who is trying to take her family’s farm. In the midst of her troubles, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Click here to read more about Pam Hillman's second stand-alone novel.

In theaters February 28th is Son of God, in which the larger-than-life story of the New Testament gets a larger-than-life treatment on the big screen. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. This marks the first motion picture about Jesus’ life since Passion of the Christ, released a decade ago. In the days leading up to its theatrical release, producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have written a movie tie-in book, which you can read all about here.

This month, our reviewer Evelyn Bence takes a look at three books that were honored by Christianity Today for their annual book awards: EAT WITH JOY: Redeeming God's Gift of Food by Rachel Marie Stone was the winner in the Christian Living category; AN UNHURRIED LIFE: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling received an Award of Merit in the Spirituality category, and an Award of Merit was given to GLIMPSES OF GRACE: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman in the Her.meneutics category. You can see all the winners of the 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards here.

We have 10 additional reviews to share with you this month. Among them are UNCOMMON MARRIAGE: Learning about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life's Obstacles Together by Tony Dungy and Lauren Dungy (which was January’s monthly contest book); CHILDLESS, the second installment in Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner’s trilogy that transports readers to a not-too-distant future when the young and healthy strain under the burden of a rapidly aging population; RACHEL, the third book in Jill Eileen Smith’s Wives of the Patriarch series; and THE STORM INSIDE: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, in which Sheila Walsh helps women (among other things) redefine their failures as a new beginning instead of an end.

We hope you all stay warm and have a chance to relax with a book. We’ll see you next month when spring hopefully will be in the air…at last!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

Special Contest: Win a Copy of WHERE COURAGE CALLS by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
We are celebrating the release of WHERE COURAGE CALLS --- Janette Oke’s first prairie romance in 14 years, co-written with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan --- with a special contest that will give 15 readers the opportunity to win a copy of this companion story to Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart" TV series. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

WHERE COURAGE CALLS: A When Calls the Heart Novel by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan (Historical Romance)
Beth Thatcher accepts a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. She resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way, but the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she had feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read critical praise.
-Read bios of Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan.
-Click here to join an author chat with Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan.

 
Click here to enter the contest.
Special Contest: Win a Copy of IT HAD TO BE YOU by Susan May Warren
We are celebrating the release of IT HAD TO BE YOU, the second installment in Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series, with a special contest that will give five readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book, which is now in stores. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

IT HAD TO BE YOU: A Christiansen Family Novel by Susan May Warren (Romance)
Currently at a crossroads about his future in hockey, Jace Jacobsen's infamous reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen --- who would like him to step up and mentor her brother, Owen, a rookie --- isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together...and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Susan May Warren's bio.
-Click here to visit Susan May Warren's official website.
-Click here to connect with Susan May Warren on Facebook.

 
Click here to enter the contest.
FaithfulReader.com's Latest Monthly Contest: Win a Copy of DEATH BY THE BOOK by Julianna Deering
In FaithfulReader.com's latest monthly contest, 15 readers will win a copy of DEATH BY THE BOOK, the second installment in Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering Mystery series, which releases on March 4th. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, March 19th at noon ET.

DEATH BY THE BOOK: A Drew Farthering Mystery by Julianna Deering (Historical Mystery)
Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered. Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? And why does Drew's investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

-Click here to read more about the book.

-Click here to read Julianna Deering's bio.
-Click here to visit Julianna Deering's official website.
-Click here to connect with Julianna Deering on Facebook.
 
Click here to enter the contest.
An Interview with Leslie Gould, Author of MINDING MOLLY

Leslie Gould knows a thing or two about love and faith in Amish country. COURTING CATE, which marked the beginning of her Courtships of Lancaster County series, was an ECPA bestseller, and now she returns with MINDING MOLLY, the third book in the series (following ADORING ADDIE). It’s about Molly Zook, who is struggling with her mother's wish that she marry Mervin Mosier to save the family farm, especially after she meets tall, muscular and confident Leon Fisher. In this interview, Gould opens up about why she started writing Amish fiction to begin with, and the beauty that Lancaster County has always held for her. She also talks about her writing process, adapting her novels from Shakespeare plays, and working with soccer games buzzing in the background.

MINDING MOLLY: The Courtships of Lancaster County, Book 3 by Leslie Gould (Romance)
Molly Zook is struggling with her mother's wish that she marry Mervin Mosier to save the family farm, especially after she meets tall, muscular and confident Leon Fisher. Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly's best friend, Hannah. A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place...but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead!

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Leslie Gould's bio.
-Click here to visit Leslie Gould's official website.
-Connect with Leslie Gould on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to read the interview.
Special Feature: THE SENTINELS OF ANDERSONVILLE by Tracy Groot
THE SENTINELS OF ANDERSONVILLE by Tracy Groot (Historical Fiction)
Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to watch the book trailer.
-Click here to read Tracy Groot's bio.
-Click here to visit Tracy Groot's official website.
-Click here to connect with Tracy Groot on Facebook.

 
Click here for our special feature.
Special Feature: CLAIMING MARIAH by Pam Hillman

CLAIMING MARIAH by Pam Hillman (Historical Romance)
When Slade Donovan shows up on Mariah Malone's front porch, she is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.

-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read an excerpt.
-Click here to read Pam Hillman's bio.
-Visit Pam Hillman's official website and blog.
-Click here to connect with Pam Hillman on Facebook.

Click here for our special feature.
Now in Stores: SON OF GOD by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett --- Read the Book Now and See the Movie Beginning February 28th!

SON OF GOD by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (Fiction/Classic & Allegory)
The book SON OF GOD is a tie-in with the major motion picture of the same title, slated for wide theatrical release (through 20th-Century Fox) on February 28th. Like the movie, the book possesses an epic scope, providing a panoramic picture of first-century Judea as it recounts the events and reveals the meaning of Jesus's life, death and resurrection.

Though based on New Testament accounts, including the four Gospels as well as the book of Acts, SON OF GOD reads like a contemporary novel, delving deeply into the character of Jesus and the personalities and motives all of those who surround him, both his followers and his enemies. Even minor Gospel characters (Mary Magdelene, the servant Malchus, the Jewish elder Nicodemus) come vividly to life in the book, and its portrayal of the political machinations behind Jesus's trial and death --- the contest for power between the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and the high priest Caiaphas --- is especially engaging.

-Click here to visit the film's official website.

Click here to read more about the book.
Now in Stores: THE STORM INSIDE by Sheila Walsh

THE STORM INSIDE: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are by Sheila Walsh (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
Women feel the storm activity all around. We find ourselves teetering somewhere between everyday chaos and crisis. But storms show you what's really going on inside, reveal what you really believe, and actually make you stronger. In THE STORM INSIDE, Sheila Walsh will help you redefine your failures as a new beginning instead of an end, replace the words always and never in your life with positive declarations of hope, and know with confidence how to help a friend in chaos or crisis. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: HOME RUN by Kevin Myers and John C. Maxwell

HOME RUN: Learn God's Game Plan for Life and Leadership by Kevin Myers and John C. Maxwell (Religion & Spirituality/Leadership)
For five hard years, Christian leader Kevin Myers struggled personally and professionally. But then God pointed out where he was going wrong and showed him the biblical pattern for living. During that time, John Maxwell also became his mentor. Together, using a baseball diamond as an analogy for following God's plan for life, Myers and Maxwell provide a clear path forward while helping you keep your priorities in order and your eyes on the prize. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

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Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: UNQUENCHABLE by Carol J. Kent

UNQUENCHABLE: Grow a Wildfire Faith that Will Endure Anything by Carol J. Kent (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
In Carol Kent's latest book, UNQUENCHABLE, readers will discover the secrets of living for something greater than themselves, improving the quality of their day-to-day relationship with Jesus Christ, fueling the fire in the lives of others, and outlasting their lives. Readers will be awestruck by how their new daily choices result in a life on fire that ignites a flame in others. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards --- Our Reviews of Three Winning Titles
Evelyn Bence reviews three titles published in 2013 that Christianity Today recognized as "books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture."

EAT WITH JOY: Redeeming God's Gift of Food by Rachel Marie Stone
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Award Winner (Christian Living)
Showing that God wants us to delight in our food, Rachel Marie Stone explores a practical theology of eating as she digs into the implications of our culture of eating. Filled with practical insights and some tasty recipes, EAT WITH JOY provides a Christian journey into the delight of eating.

AN UNHURRIED LIFE: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit Winner (Spirituality)
“I am a recovering speed addict --- and I don’t mean the drug.” Pastor and spiritual director Alan Fadling begins with this confession and continues by describing his journey out of the fast lane into the rhythms of Jesus. AN UNHURRIED LIFE offers concrete help for finding balance between our sense of calling and the call to rest.

GLIMPSES OF GRACE: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home
by Gloria Furman
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit Winner (Her.meneutics)
Does God care about the way we unload the dishwasher or balance the budget? Do the little things like cooking meals make a difference? Through the insightful stories in GLIMPSES OF GRACE, these richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel’s extraordinary power to transform ordinary lives.

 
Click here to see all the winners of the 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards.
More Reviews This Month
UNCOMMON MARRIAGE: Learning about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life's Obstacles Together by Tony Dungy and Lauren Dungy, with Nathan Whitaker (Love & Marriage/Relationships)
What does it take to build a marriage that will last? In UNCOMMON MARRIAGE, Tony and Lauren Dungy share the secrets that hold them together, revealing what they’ve learned so far about being a good husband or wife; getting through times of loss, grief or change; staying connected despite busy schedules; supporting each other’s dreams and goals; and helping each other grow spiritually. Reviewed by Michele Howe.

RUNAWAY SAINT by Lisa Samson (Fiction)
Twenty years ago, fresh out of college, Bel left for a summer missions trip and never returned. Now she’s on her niece's doorstep, looking for a place to crash. Saying yes to Aunt Bel turns Sara’s whole precariously balanced life upside down. The enigmatic Bel gives Sara’s family and their community a jolt of fresh thinking and clarity. But Bel is hiding something. Though she won’t talk about it, Sara soon learns that Bel has been through a hellish ordeal. And she has the burn marks to prove it. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

RACHEL: Wives of the Patriarchs, Book 3 by Jill Eileen Smith (Historical Romance)
Rachel wants nothing more than for her older half sister, Leah, to wed and move out of their household. Leah wishes her father would find a good man who would love her alone. Unbeknownst to either of them, Jacob is making his way to their home, trying to escape a past laced with deceit and find the future God has promised him. But the past comes back to haunt Jacob when he finds himself on the receiving end of treachery. Reviewed by Susan Miura.

CHILDLESS by Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner (Dystopian Fiction)
In FATHERLESS, Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner depicted a time in which present-day trends come to sinister fruition. This eagerly awaited follow-up transports readers to a not-too-distant future when the young and healthy strain under the burden of a rapidly aging population. What happens when the abiding joys of parenthood are exchanged for the gradual deterioration of a CHILDLESS world? Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

STRANGER THINGS by Erin Healy (Mystery/Thriller)
When a therapeutic walk in the woods leads her to a ruined house overtaken by criminals, Serena Diaz is assaulted and finds herself witness to the senseless murder of the one man who tries to help her. Hurled into a world of false accusations and hounded by the press, Serena must confront evil itself to unravel the mysterious visions --- and terrifying danger --- that pursue her. But she can’t ignore the most haunting question: Why would a mysterious stranger give his life to save hers? Reviewed by Susan Miura.

TIES THAT BIND: A 52-Week Devotional for Mothers and Daughters by Kristin Armstrong (Devotional)
Just like when we braid our daughter's hair, as we raise our girls, we weave three strands together: our faith and their faith, together with God's love. If we can do this well, the cord is not easily broken. In this weekly devotional, there are common themes supported by scripture, with one reading specifically for mothers, the other for daughters. Each week is intended to generate connection and conversation, with questions included to spark discussion. Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab.

TWIRL: A Fresh Spin at Life by Patsy Clairmont (Christian Life/Personal Growth)
Though hurry-up is part of the human dilemma and certain seasons bring more of it than others, if it becomes a lifestyle, you might find yourself on the slippery slopes of bitterness, sadness and depression. Patsy Clairmont’s hope is to help her readers maintain a dynamic view on life --- with activities and choices that lead to renewal and peace. Reviewed by Maggie Harding.

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