Tag Archives: Jana Kelley

Book Review: Mercy Triumphs

10 Sep

Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God.

Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it.

Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.

Author of the captivating novel Side by Side, Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find out more about Jana at http://www.janakelley.com.

My Impressions:

It should be stated up front that Mercy Triumphs is the third and final book in Jana Kelley’s trilogy set in the Muslim world of Sudan. You really have to start at the beginning of this series to get the full impact of these books. But you are in luck, because you can binge read the whole series from start to finish and not have to wait to find out what God has in store for the Mia, Halimah, and Rania, the three young women you will come to love, respect, and consider sisters in Christ. Yes, this book is a work of fiction, but Kelley knows first hand what it means to live in a world that is hungry for God, yet is closed to His message of freedom in Christ. I cannot recommend Mercy Triumphs (really the entire series) enough. For those who have a love for people of different cultures, for those who have a love for God’s command to make disciples, and for those who feel a stirring in their spirit to find out where God is working, this book is for you.

Mia and her family have been living in Sudan for three years. Her husband works for an aid organization and Mia spends her days raising her children and trying to speak words of truth to those who God has put in her path. Not formal missionaries, for Sudan is a closed country, the Weston family nevertheless looks for opportunities to share Jesus. Meanwhile two sisters with whom Mia has crossed paths, Halimah and Rania, are living outside their beloved Sudan because they have become Christians. Danger is as much a part of life as the dust is in Sudan, yet God is good and merciful and has plans for the three women that they don’t expect.

Kelley’s three book series would be perfect for a book discussion group or missions study. Mercy Triumphs examines a number of things — the real meaning of freedom in Christ, living without fear, following God wherever He leads, trusting God instead of others and self. The story is highly readable, and the characters are very real with flaws and failings, but strong faith. I learned so much about the Muslim culture and the role of women. It’s easy to view Muslims through the lens of the nightly news. Mercy Triumphs paints a true picture — the good, the bad, and the very beautiful.

Mercy Triumphs is a highly recommended read! Get the whole series and begin on a journey of faith and discovery — about the world and about yourself.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to New Hope Publishers and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

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Book Review: Door to Freedom

2 Mar

51yprx5maxl-_sx322_bo1204203200_It’s rough and it’s smooth. It’s dark and it’s light. It’s a masterpiece. It’s us. Here in Sudan. We are scared of it and drawn to it. There is an open door, and there is much opposition.

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister’s sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom, the freedom that only comes when you trust God’s sovereignty more than manmade security.

Part of New Hope Publishers’ line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

jkelley-420-pngAuthor of the captivating novel Side by Side, Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend East Texas Baptist University. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.
Find out more about Jana at http://www.janakelley.com.

 

My Impressions:

What is it like to live in a place where the free exercise of religion is non-existent? A place where belief in Jesus is dangerous? Door to Freedom, the second book by Jana Kelley, continues the story of the Westons, a family who come to Sudan to provide physical relief to the people, but who are also committed to sharing the hope and peace available through Jesus Christ. This book is an eye-opener — cultural differences, governmental harassment, and opposition from friend and foe are woven into a highly readable contemporary novel. If you want to know more about life for those on the front lines of mission work, you need to get Door to Freedom.

Two storylines run throughout Door to Freedom. Mia’s story was begun in book 1, Side by Side, and progresses as she and her husband anticpate another two year commitment to life in Sudan. On the other side of Khartoum lives Rania, the sister of Halimah who figured prominently in Side by Side. Although there is little intersection between the two women, the stories are complimentary as they show both sides of life in a Muslim country. Mia struggles to share her faith with Sudanese women, and Rania seeks peace in a dangerous place, the Gospel of John. Both women must walk through a door in obedience to find their place and purpose in God’s kingdom.

The thing I liked most about this book was the everydayness of Mia and Rania’s lives. Yes, life in Sudan is very different from my cushy life in the US, but I could easily relate to Mia’s challenge of raising her family and Rania’s desire to know the truth and also be a respectful and dutiful daughter. Door to Freedom shows the positives of the Muslim culture — family closeness and generous hospitality — but also the lies that bind believers leaving them with only a faint hope of what Allah wills for their lives. Mia finds that dependence on God’s Word is critical for her life in Sudan — a good reminder for all believers everywhere. As she and her husband Michael become more immersed in the Bible and prayer, Mia finds herself astounded — “‘It’s just we pray and pray, but I forget that God may actually do what we ask.'” (p.97). This statement spoke volumes to my heart.

Door to Freedom may be a departure for you if you usually read historical romance or romantic suspense, but it will definitely open your eyes and your heart to needs in this big world of ours.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse and New Hope Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

TOP 10 Tuesday — Around The World in Books!

19 Jul

This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are focusing on Books Set Outside The United States. To find out all the great books bloggers are recommending, click HERE.

toptentuesday

 

I’m not much of a traveler, but I have loved the places I visited in books! Because there are so many great books set outside of the US, I have included many more than 10, 25 in fact. Divided by geographic location, my list includes books set within the last 100 years so that you can easily see where you are visiting! Have fun exploring the world!

Around The World in Books

The Americas

CanadaThe Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan.

MexicoMore Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias 

NicaraguaWater from My Heart by Charles Martin

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Europe

EnglandThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

Secrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

FranceDefy The Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

GreeceThe Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Netherlands Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Ukraine Beyond The Rapids by Evelyn Puerto

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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Africa

AlgeriaTwo Destinies by Elizabeth Musser

South AfricaThe Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

No Greater Love by Kathi Macias

SudanSide by Side by Jana Kelley

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The Middle East 

AfghanistanFarewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord

Saudia Arabia People of The Book by Kathi Macias

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Asia

ChinaCity of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Red Ink by Kathi Macias 

Indonesia (Dutch East Indies)Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

North KoreaBeloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The PhilippinesRemember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma

VietnamYesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West

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Australia 

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

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Where do you want to travel?

 

Book Review: Side by Side

6 May

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. Hebrews 32:33

SidebySide300dpi-662x1024In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.
A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of a young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

 

JKelley-299Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

 

My Impressions:

Mission-focused books can be some of the best reads. Inspired by real events and her experience on the mission field, Jana Kelley has created an insightful, moving and suspenseful novel that depicts the realities of life in an Islamic country. The reader gets it all in Side by Side — the sights and sounds of life in an exotic locale, the struggle to live as a foreigner in a country so alien from our own, and the spiritual oppression that hangs over the people. Main character Mia often wonders if Sudan is worth uprooting her family and living a life that is often lonely. At the end she and the reader know Sudan may not be worth it, but Jesus certainly is.

Mia and Michael have always dreamed of living in a foreign country to serve others and share the love of Christ. When they get their chance to move to Sudan, they are excited. But day to day life takes a toll on Mia. Her days are spent mostly in her home taking care of the kids, while Michael lives a life of excitement, making a difference. At least that is what she thinks. Halimah is a university student who attempts to be a good daughter in her Muslim family. But her life is transformed by the Injil, the New Testament, that she secretly reads. But becoming a Christian is not only illegal but could cost her life.

Side by Side has a great combination of setting, characters and plot. The dusty streets, crowded markets and the exotic scents became real as I read. I certainly identified with Mia as she fought feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and doubt. She gave me greater insight into what aid workers and missionaries experience when they leave their families and familiar surroundings behind. Halimah was truly inspiring as she gave up everything for her new found faith in Jesus. Their stories kept me turning the pages; the element of suspense making me hold my breath.

The novel is eye-opening on so many levels — the very real spiritual battle that Christians face, the oftentimes barbaric treatment of women in northern Africa and the Middle East, and the miraculous working of God. I highly recommend Side by Side.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens to adults. 

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to New Hope Publishers and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)