Mercy Triumphs

September 12th, 2017

Mercy Triumphs

mercy
By Jana Kelley

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 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.

ISLAND BREEZES

It’s a very difficult life or a Muslim who converts to Christianity. Halimah escaped and is living undercover. Rania made it as ar as her aunt and uncle in Dubai. She has to keep her faith a secret from them.

I really don’t want to tell you much more as I’m afraid I’ll give too much away and ruin it for you. You really need to read it all for yourself. Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat at times. I kept wanting to tell them, “Don’t do that.” or “Don’t go there.”

This is a good stand alone read, but it’s so much better if you read Side by Side and Door to Freedom first. I truly hope Ms Kelley gives us more books.

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

jana

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 here.

 

Never Forget

September 11th, 2017

crying eagle 2

09.11.01

My Daughter’s Legacy

August 1st, 2017

My Daughter’s Legacy

legacy
By Mindy Starns Clark
and Leslie Gould

From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould comes a thrilling tale of two women centuries apart, who are forced to move beyond their past mistakes, make difficult choices, and open their hearts to true love at last.

Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love-whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor-ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained-her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man-to unlock the secrets of the past.

ISLAND BREEZES

This is a tale of two women, but my heart resonated most with Therese in 1864 Virginia where she eventually leads a life of service and danger. And where she also finds her heart torn between two men.

Then there’s Nicole in present day Virginia, harboring a secret from her past. Nicole is home for the summer and struggling with both her past and her family’s past. And, of course, there’s a man in the picture.

How will these two women come together to unite the present day Virginia family?

Thank you, Mindy and Leslie, for bringing us this tale about how the past can affect our present day circumstances.

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

mindy

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania.
Find out more about Mindy Starns at http://mindystarnsclark.com.

leslie

Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including “Beyond the Blue” and “Garden of Dreams.” She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children

A Letter from Lancaster County

July 30th, 2017

A Letter from Lancaster County

letter
By Kate Lloyd

Angela
Her mother’s untimely death, a struggling marriage, a strained relationship with her sister, Rose, and regrets over what might have been haunt her. Despite being a wife and mother, she feels she has little to show for her life.

Rose
Still single, she longs for a husband and children. But Angela has all that and still isn’t happy. Rose wants to be closer to her older sister, but she and Angela couldn’t be more different. Both strong women, will their sibling rivalry ever end?

* * *

When a letter arrives from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Angela and Rose decide to visit Aunt Silvia, their mother’s Mennonite sister, in the heart of Amish country. This vacation could provide the opportunity both sisters need to sort out their issues. And yet instead of finding a new way of connecting with each other, Angela and Rose discover surprising family secrets that add to their strife and threaten Rose’s romance with a new beau.

Through it all, the two sisters must find the faith necessary to face their personal problems and allow God to restore hope and healing to their hearts and relationship as only He can.

ISLAND BREEZES

A letter from a long unseen aunt has two sisters getting on a plane for a long flight together. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Think again. These sisters can barely stand to be in the same room.

They only plan to stay a short time, but can they even make it a couple weeks? The relationship goes further downhill when a male becomes part of the equation.

Most of Angela and Rose’s differences seem to stem from misunderstandings when they were growing up, but they never discuss any of that to even try to smooth things out.

Thank you, Ms Lloyd for a twist on Amish fiction. I’m looking forward to reading Simply Delicious.

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

Preview of first chapter from AmishReader.com

Prologue
Silvia Donato’s hand shook as she put her pen’s tip to the stationery.
She hesitated, but then prodded herself no matter how
much her fingers ached. This was her last chance to repair much of
what had gone wrong. Before it was too late.
Dearest Angela and Rose,
Please visit me. This invitation may sound crazy. After
so many years, I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t
care less about your aunt. But I’m getting older, and
how I regret not asking you sooner, as well as the tension
between your mother and me that separated us for so long.
How can I entice you to travel clear across the country?
For one thing, I still live in your grandparents’
house where your mother grew up. You might wish to
take a memento home with you. Anything you like. Lancaster
County is truly magnificent. To my way of thinking,
autumn is its finest season. Please come.
Fondly,
Aunt Silvia

One
Angela
My younger sister and I trailed our cousin Phyllis across
the slate path toward Aunt Silvia’s house. I inhaled Lancaster
County’s earthy farmland aromas and a trace of smoke wafting
through a wooded area, up from the valley below. Horses clip-clopping
in the distance sounded like muted steeple bells from another century.
A kaleidoscope of expectations swirled through my chest. I felt as
if I were a little girl opening a present, discovering Santa had delivered
exactly what I’d asked for.
But then I glanced over my shoulder and saw Rose lugging her
duffel bag like the hunchback of Notre Dame—acting like a fiveyear-
old, when in fact she was thirty-six. Was she limping? This
morning, she’d made a last-minute trip to a restroom near our gate
and then sprinted onto the plane and lobbed her bag into an overhead
bin just before the flight attendant closed the door. I had nearly
hastened back down the jet bridge, convinced she wouldn’t make it
and I’d be on my own.
A temporary lapse in judgment, she’d labeled it—her excuse for
all her wild stunts. Like finding her boyfriends in bars. They could
be serial killers, for all she knew. Not that I didn’t have my own foibles.
But asking her to come on this trip could have been a mistake.
Several yards from the front door, Phyllis brought our lopsided
trio to an abrupt halt to dig through her purse for a key, giving Rose
time to catch up. She dropped her bag and lifted her chin to survey
the two-story red structure, once our grandparents’ residence. Her
dark bangs slanted across one eye. “Was the house always this color?”
“Yes.” Elation rang in my voice because I was jazzed to be here.
Finally. “Remember Mom’s photo?” When she was still alive, our
mother kept that photo in her desk drawer, out of Dad’s sight.
Rose squinted at the clapboard siding. “It reminds me of a
caboose. You’d never see a house that bright in Seattle.”
Heat surged up my neck. “Rose, where are your manners?” Her
scowl told me I sounded like Mom, her former nemesis.
She glanced at Phyllis. “Sorry, cuz, I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.”
Rose and I hadn’t set eyes on Phyllis for twenty years, and my
sister was already calling her a pet name.
Phyllis spoke in run-on sentences. “Not a problem, if I had my
way Ma would sell this dinosaur and move into assisted living. Sorry
she’s not here I told Ma what time I was picking you up at the airport.”
Her mousy brown hair hung limply around her small face,
and her pinched features hinted of frustration as she mounted the
one step.
When Phyllis jiggled the key into the lock, an ocean of throaty
barking erupted. She tugged the door open and a black mongrel the
size of a Saint Bernard barged out.
Rose, usually brave—reckless was a better description—dropped
her bag and tucked her hands under her chin. “Does it bite?”
“Only an occasional FedEx driver. Pay no attention to Rex, he’s
all show although the postal carrier refuses to set foot on the property.
If Ma’s mail won’t fit in the box down by the road it doesn’t get
delivered.” She kneed the massive dog out of her way and entered
the house.
With hackles raised, Rex sniffed my pant leg. I hoped he really
was a pussycat behind his bravado. I took a chance and extended
a palm to the dog’s graying muzzle. He gave my fingers a cursory

sniff before trotting into the house, clearing an avenue for me to
follow Phyllis.
For the first time in two decades I crossed the threshold of the
family home. Aunt Silvia, Mom’s younger sister, had kept our
grandparents’ well-worn furniture exactly as it was. The same oval,
braided rug spread across the hardwood floor to the rock fireplace.
The low-beamed ceiling hung above paned windows framed by
walnut-stained timber, and the couch dissected the room, creating
a dining area on the other side.
I sniffed the air. “Something smells good. Baking squash?”
“Good Lord, Ma left the oven on?” Phyllis loped past the dining
table and into the kitchen, with Rex scrambling after her, barking.
“Hush!” she yelled at the dog, and he fell silent.
Through the doorway I saw Phyllis yank open the oven, peer
at something inside, and then slam the oven door before turning
a knob. She raised her hands above her head and shook them, as if
imploring the Almighty. Then her arms flopped to her sides and she
returned to the living area.
“Sorry ’bout that I swear Ma’s going to burn this house down.”
She expelled a lengthy breath. “Well, guess we should get you two
settled.”
“I know where I want to sleep.” I guided my wheeled suitcase
through the living area and down the hall to the back bedroom, as
if drawn by a magnet. There was the canopy bed Mom used as a
girl, and where Rose and I slept on our few childhood visits with
Mom. My mind hadn’t exaggerated how high the four-poster stood.
I needed to stretch on tiptoes to sit on the patchwork quilt, and when
I did the mattress squished down comfortably like a feather pillow.
Rose poked her head in. “Where should I go?”
I knew from experience, when Rose was miserable the whole
world suffered. I said, “You can have this room, if you want it.” But
I sent her mental images of luxuriating in another bedroom; I didn’t
want to give up my Shangri-La.
“Nope, you get first dibs. Coming to Pennsylvania is your gig.”
Hoping to release the tension building in my temples, I yanked
my shoulder-length hair out of the scrunchie. “Don’t say that, Rosie.
We’re in this boat together.”
She didn’t reply, as if our dinghy had already sunk.
Phyllis appeared at Rose’s elbow. “Ma uses the bedroom across
the hall for sewing and ironing, but there’s another one right above
this.”
“I remember. The itty-bitty one.” Rose’s face turned glum, but
she never looked bad. Her black brows and Venus de Milo mouth
gave her the appearance of a young, brown-eyed Elizabeth Taylor.
My opposite in every way.
While she and Phyllis climbed the wooden staircase, I kicked off
my loafers, dangled my feet over the side of the bed, and admired
the wallpaper—lilac blossoms floating against creamy beige—Mom
might have picked out as a girl. At my feet spread the hooked rug—a
floral motif—where she must have played with dolls.
If she liked dolls. I knew little about her childhood; she rarely
spoke about it. I had countless questions, one reason I’d come to
see Aunt Silvia. Although my husband, Frederick, a master at cross examining
witnesses, had warned me I might not like what I found.
Before hiring a private detective to shadow a client’s spouse, he
often cautioned them, “If you can’t live with the worst-case scenario,
sometimes it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie.”
Overhead, floorboards creaked and complained. Hearing Rose’s
muffled voice sent a thud of sadness through my chest. My only sibling
had disliked me since we were teenagers. Boom, one day my
sweet giggly little sister metamorphosed into an ogre. An onset of
raging hormones? Or had she been snubbed at school by the queen
bee? And I didn’t think she had a boyfriend to break her heart until
at least college. In any case, I would have done anything to repair
our tug-of-war relationship, including making this trip together.
Minutes later, Rose plodded into the room and landed on the
rocking chair by the lace-curtained window. She was wearing skinny
jeans, riding low on her hips, and she’d changed from her turtleneck
into a V-neck sweater, a provocative look I thought was inappropriate
here in the land of the Amish.
“My bedroom’s cozy,” she said, which I assumed meant cramped.
“You’d better sleep here, Rosie.” I slid off the bed and gave it a
pat. “I insist. I was acting selfishly. You deserve to enjoy yourself too.”
“Nah, that’s okay. I’ll get used to it. The bed upstairs is too small
for you.”
I clenched my teeth, flattened my lips.
“I don’t mean you’re big, sis. Just four inches taller than I am.”
I let Rose’s comment go. If I agreed or disagreed, she’d be all over
me like a hornet.
She rocked back and forth, the toes of her suede boots tapping
the floor. “Really, the whole room is made for a shrimp like me.”
She was trying to gloss over her innuendo that I’d grown porky.
But she was right. I’d gained over twenty pounds since giving birth
years ago: ten per child, and several more consoling myself with
food after Frederick informed me he was getting a vasectomy, as if
he were going to do nothing more life-shattering than remove an
inconvenient mole.
“Pay no attention to me” she said, breaking into my reflections.
“I’m acting cranky.”
Phyllis leaned through the doorway. She was my age, thirty-nine;
the skin at the corners of her eyes was accumulating the same pesky
crow’s feet as mine. “I’ve got to get back to work.” She frowned at
her wristwatch. “Where could Ma be?”
“We can entertain ourselves,” I said. “She’s so nice to have us.”
“Rose sprang to her feet with agility. “Yeah, nice.” In her heeled
boots she stood almost my height.
“In her letter, Aunt Silvia seemed determined that we visit.” I
hoped our aunt hadn’t been overly gracious when she’d written us.
I couldn’t really remember what she was like, but Dad said Aunt
Silvia and Mom hadn’t gotten along. Rose thought their dispute
had to do with a man, her answer to everything.
“Yep, Ma’s the best,” Phyllis said without conviction. “But call
me if anything unusual arises, okay? My number’s by the phone.”
Rose and I followed her out the front door. Afternoon salmon colored
sunlight stippled the amber and russet-colored leaves in the
wooded hillside above the home. I was relieved when Rex trotted
around the side of the house—in case the mailman had pegged the
dog right.
“Sorry gotta run,” Phyllis said. “Let’s get together before you leave.”
She bustled to her SUV as if she couldn’t wait to make her exit. A
moment later, her vehicle lurched over the gravel driveway, stopped
at the road to allow a horse and buggy to pass, and then sped away.
I was tempted to dash down to the road to grab a look at the
buggy, but it was too late. As we were chauffeured here from the
Philadelphia Airport, I’d seen many horse and buggies, but Phyllis
kept her SUV aimed straight ahead, skimming by them without
interest.
Meandering back to the house, I inhaled to my fullest. The late autumn
breeze—a potpourri of moist soil, drying corn husks, and
fallen leaves—was as fragrant as ripening grapes at a vineyard.
An automobile approached from the other direction. Then an
aged, beige-metallic Buick ground into the drive and stopped in
front of the weathered two-car garage that looked as though it hadn’t
been opened for years. My feet skipped across the path when I spied
Aunt Silvia’s face through the Buick’s window. She didn’t resemble
our mother, who’d been fair-skinned and blonde like me. Silvia’s
salt-and-pepper hair, once espresso-brown like Rose’s and long
enough to wear in a bun, was lopped to about three inches.
“Hello, dear ones.” Silvia got out. “I’m sorry. I meant to be home
earlier.” Standing several inches shorter than I did, she clasped me
in a tight embrace; I felt more bones than flesh. As she hugged Rose,
Silvia’s eyes moistened behind her tortoiseshell glasses. She patted
under them with her fingertips. “Finally, I’ll get to know Juliana’s
daughters, all grown up.”
When I heard Mom’s name, my breath froze in my throat. After
a year, I thought my mourning period was over, but a familiar aching
tightened my chest like goliath hands gripping my ribs. Her
death remained a mystery, a slow decline that had lasted a couple of
decades. Each specialist gave a different perspective: arthritis, MS,
lupus, fibromyalgia. Then heart failure.
Silvia reached into the car to retrieve a small paper bag and
tucked it in her purse, out of sight. “I had several errands…”
“That’s okay,” I said. “We’re just happy to be here.” At least, I was.
Her mid-calf skirt swaying, Silvia moved around the car and
opened the trunk to reveal two full grocery bags. Rose—always a
step ahead of me—scooped up the larger one and I took the other.
Halfway to the house, Silvia slowed us to a stop to watch five
swallows gliding in flamboyant arcs, then land on the sloped roof.
Warmth from the lingering sun radiated off the shingles and transformed
the house’s siding to rusty-orange. Fortunately, Rose made
no snide comments.
“This old place sat empty for over a year after my mother, your
Grandma Luisa, passed away,” Silvia said.
“I remember.” I rearranged the bag in my arms. “When no one
wanted it, Mom toyed with the idea of using it as a vacation home.”
Rose sneered. “Nah. Father would have nixed that idea in a split
second.”
“He never had much use for this house,” Silvia agreed.
“He calls it a claustrophobic rat’s nest,” Rose said, and Silvia’s
beautifully creased face broke into a smile.
“I don’t doubt it. He called my mother—your Grandma Luisa—
Loose Wheel.”
Rose chuckled, and I couldn’t help joining in. “I’m glad you
moved here,” I said. “That it didn’t leave the family forever.”
“It seemed natural when I became single again.” Silvia was a
widow, but Mom told us Silvia and her husband, Frank, had been
separated when he died. Apparently he was a womanizer who’d
propositioned Mom at his own wedding.
Rex bounded out of the woods, panting and flagging his tail.
“Where have you been?” Silvia asked him. “In the neighbor’s chicken
coop again?” As though they’d had this one-sided conversation
before. Then she led us around the side of the house and opened
the glass-paned kitchen door. Rose and I placed the bags on a yellow
Formica table in the center of the room.
With the dog milling at her feet, Silvia pulled out cheeses and
meats wrapped in white paper and a loaf of hard-crusted bread. She
tugged an apron over her head and cinched the strings around her
slender waist. I could tell she’d been digging in the garden, doing
chores that had chipped her blunt nails and left a slight discoloration
on her fingertips—unlike our mother, who’d insisted on
weekly manicures and a housekeeper who kept the family home
looking like a page from House Beautiful. Not that I blamed Mom;
she always seemed fatigued, on the verge of a yawn.
“How was your flight, girls?”
“It took forever,” Rose said.
I felt pent-up ire lifting my shoulders. “It wasn’t so bad. My
frequent-flyer miles upgraded us to first class.” I bet it was the only
time Rose had sat in the first cabin. “We got a nice chance to chat
in the Red Carpet Room in Chicago.”
“If you say so.”
Had I talked too much during the layover and flight? I chattered
on like a parrot sometimes, especially when nervous, which Rose
made me because she analyzed every word, storing them away for
future ammunition.
“Hey, Aunt Silvia,” Rose said. “Want me to set the table?”
“Yes, please.” Silvia pointed to a wall cabinet crammed with mismatched
china. “Use whatever plates you like. The cutlery’s in that
drawer and the napkins are in the sideboard in the dining area.”
Using methodical movements, Silvia heated oil and butter in
the skillet before unwrapping boneless chicken breasts and dredging
them through salted flour. As she spoke of her parents—what
accomplished chefs they’d been thanks to their Italian roots—I let
my vision drift around the room and was transported back to my
childhood visits, times of contentment. The same brass light fixture
that shined on Grandma Luisa Moretti’s shoulders as her plump
belly pressed against the sink cast a golden glow. Copper and stainless
steel pans and a collection of ladles hung from the rack above the
chipped white enamel stove. The air was thick and touchable. The
aroma of sweet garlic and basil filled my nostrils. On a wall a framed
embroidery proclaimed Dopo il bruto viene il bello. Years ago, Mom
told me it had something to do with the weather turning beautiful
after a storm in Italian.
Thirty minutes later, Silvia poured boiling pasta into a strainer. A
cloud of steam burst up, floating to the windowpanes.
“This kitchen smells divine,” I said, my mouth watering.
She drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over lettuce leaves, basil,
and diced tomatoes and then handed the wooden bowl to me. “Go
have a seat, girls,” she said, handing me the salad. “I’m almost finished.”
I set the bowl on the oval table in the dining area and then
straightened the flatware Rose had placed on either side of three
blue-and-white plates. The knives faced out—I flipped them over.
And the water glasses stood on the wrong side—I repositioned them.
Had she forgotten everything Mom taught us?
Rose noticed me; her eyes bulged. “Are we getting compulsively
neat in our old age?” Any chance to remind me I was older than she
was, and that I fussed too much.
I eased down onto the chair facing the living area. To keep my
hands busy, I rotated my wedding band in the white groove on
my ring finger. How startling: I hadn’t thought about Tiffany, my
fourteen-year-old daughter, or my eleven-year-old son, Daniel, for
hours. They usually flashed like neon lights in the electrical current
streaming through my brain. And Frederick? I must have been more
tired than I realized. I could barely visualize what he looked like.
“I guess I should call home,” I said. “No, never mind, my cell
phone battery’s dead. I was so worried about leaving reminder notes
for the kids this morning, I forgot my charger.” I scanned the room
for a telephone and spotted a black model out of the fifties on a side
table by the fireplace. “I could use Silvia’s.”
“Don’t bother.” Rose parked herself on the chair across from me.
“It’s three hours earlier in Seattle. Stop worrying. They’re fine.”
What did she know about raising a family? She was childless and
doted over her Cairn terrier as though it were a baby; she was paying
a dog sitter forty dollars a day to come to her house to feed and
coddle it.
I checked the carriage clock resting on the mantel. “Six p.m.
Three in Seattle. I guess you’re right, Rosie. The kids are getting out
of school and going to their friends’ houses. I wonder what Frederick’s
up to.”
“While the cat’s away?” Rose raised her sculpted brows as if she
knew the inside scoop on Frederick’s supposed clandestine activities.
“Don’t make insinuations without proper evidence,” I said, quoting
my husband. “He’s on the phone or with clients. Sitting at Daddy’s
old desk.” But his office, once our father’s, with its new, plush
carpet, cushy leather couch, and gas fireplace, would be a cozy nest
for a rendezvous. Only last week, when entering Frederick’s office
unannounced, I’d found his new paralegal, Stephanie, a voluptuous
twenty something, reading his computer screen over his shoulder.
But when she noticed me she straightened her spine. Spouting legal
jargon, she’d fled the room.
“You wouldn’t want to mess with Freddie Strick,” Rose told Silvia
as our aunt carried a platter of browned and succulent chicken
to the table. “He’s a pit bull in the courtroom. Famous for winning
humongous divorce settlements.” Rose bopped into the kitchen for
the bowl of squash and then sat down again.
“Frederick,” I said. “He hates to be called Freddie. And you make
him sound awful.” Not that he didn’t enjoy pinning his opponent’s
shoulder to the mat. A favorable verdict seemed to satisfy him more
than helicopter skiing in the Rockies, scuba diving the Great Barrier
Reef, or even making love.
“I doubt he’d mind being called aggressive.” Rose reached for the
water pitcher and filled her glass. “The truth is, I’d hire him myself
if I had someone to sue.” She gulped a mouthful and found a chunk
of ice to crunch into. “That’s one advantage of staying single.”
“You’re trying to convince us you’re unmarried by choice?”
“I’d rather be single than stuck in a dead-end marriage.”
My hands clenched. Every molecule within me wanted to
unleash my tongue and hurl caustic words, but I figured Rose probably
wished to be married as much as any woman her age. I should
show her compassion.
Thank goodness Silvia paid no heed to our banter. She served the
meal, passing Rose and me plates mounded with chicken, noodles,
and squash. Rex wandered into the room, plopped down at Silvia’s
feet, and bellowed out a moan.
My mouth salivated. “That’s way too much.” I unfolded my napkin,
flattened it on my lap atop my black Chico’s knit travel slacks.
“I’m sort of on a diet.”
“Which one this time?” Rose asked.
“Low carbs.” I slathered butter over my squash. “I’ll start again
tomorrow.”
She snickered. “I’ve heard that one before.”
“So? We’re not all size six petite like you.”
“Girls, shall we thank the Lord before we eat?” Silvia bowed her
head.
“Oops, sorry.” I glanced over to Rose, who wore the expression of
a woman sentenced to life imprisonment. Figuring she’d be watching
me, I clamped my eyes shut. It wouldn’t hurt Rose to pray, not
that I attended church other than Easter and Christmas, and mostly
because I liked the music. When you hum along with Handel’s Messiah
you feel inspired. But Sundays I was busy orchestrating breakfast,
reading the paper, and carpooling Daniel to soccer practice.
And it was Frederick’s only time to unwind when not away on business
or on the golf course.
“Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this meal, for Rose and
Angela’s safe trip, and for our lives.” Silvia’s voice cracked with emotion.
Then she finished with, “Each day is precious. Amen.”
“Amen,” Rose mumbled. She sliced off a morsel of chicken,
plunked it between her lips, and swallowed. “Aunt Silvia, this is
scrumptious.”
I sampled the chicken. “Yes, it tastes like a dish Mom made.”
Silvia said, “Thank you,” but her features lay passively, and she
stared straight ahead at nothing in particular. Maybe out the window
at the darkening sky?
Rose shot me a quirky glance, and I shrugged back.
I swallowed a mouthful of pasta. “Everything okay?” I touched
Silvia’s speckled hand, startling her. “You’re not eating.”
The corners of her mouth lifted, but her eyes remained flat. She
jabbed at a lettuce leaf and then set her fork aside. “Suddenly I’m all
tuckered out. Would you mind if I napped for a little while?”
“Of course not. I’m worn out from the trip myself.” Tired of Rose
was more like it.
Silvia used her hands to push herself to a standing position. Her
napkin floated to the floor next to Rex, who sniffed it.
“Don’t you two girls do a thing. I’ll clean the kitchen in the morning.”
Silvia padded out of the room on bare feet. She’d slipped off
her shoes and left them under the table.
“Weird,” Rose muttered. For the first time in months I agreed
with her.

kate

Kate Lloyd is a bestselling novelist whose books include A Portrait of Marguerite and the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy. A native of Baltimore, she enjoys spending time with friends and family in rural Pennsylvania and is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. She now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

‘My Daughter’s Legacy’ Blog Tour, Author Chat Party, and Giveaway Code:

July 26th, 2017

Meet two women in different eras but both with unfailing conviction in Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould’s new book, My Daughter’s Legacy. Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained-her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man-to unlock the secrets of the past.

Celebrate the release of Mindy and Leslie’s new book by entering to win the $75 Visa Cash Card Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on August 1!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • One copy of My Daughter’s Legacy
  • One $75 Visa Cash Card

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 1. The winner will be announced at the My Daughter’s Legacy Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Mindy, Leslie, and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray | Blog Tour and 5-Book Giveaway

July 12th, 2017

Will a man wrongly accused of assault be convinced to return and stay in the Amish community he left? Find out in His Guilt, the next book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Amish of Hart County series. Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. Will Mark be able to find the attacker before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Enter to win a copy of His Guilt. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced July 25th on the Litfuse blog!

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His Guilt

July 11th, 2017

His Guilt

his guilt
By Shelley Shepard Gray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray delivers the next novel in her Amish of Hart County series—a suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay. . . .

Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

ISLAND BREEZES

Mark Fisher left Horse Cave under a cloud of suspicion, but returned a couple years later to help out his friend. Now he was a new employee at his friend’s nursery.

Waneta Cain was also employed at Blooms and Berries,and was uneasy with Mark’s presence. In fact, most of the town was uneasy with his presence. Just the fact that Mark was brought in for questioning before leaving town caused a lot of assumptions of quilt as the perpetrator of a violent crime was never found.

As Waneta and Mark become friends and maybe a little more, the violent acts of another once again cast suspicion on Mark. Will Waneta remain steadfast in her friendship with Mark, or will she, too, become suspicious?

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

shelly

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Dragon Seed

July 11th, 2017

Dragon Seed

Dragon Seed
By Marty Machowski

An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background. Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book—a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family’s history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you’ll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions!

This page-turning, young adult fiction story invites older children and teens into the real-life struggles of Nick. But it also ushers them into an imaginative exploration of the life of the young man Jesus saved as he wandered through the tombs. Best-selling author Marty Machowski uses both stories to introduce the reality of spiritual warfare and how its shadows affect and change us.

Machowski, a trusted teacher for children of all ages, presents a thoroughly biblical view of spiritual warfare that emphasizes the importance of humility and dangers of pride. Teens will be drawn to the story of Nick and his struggles and will learn, as they read, to also identify the shadows in their own life and turn from them. While the biblical teaching is evident throughout the narrative of Dragon Seed, Machowski also includes a twelve-lesson Bible study at the end of the book to help teens ground their understanding of spiritual warfare on biblical principles.

Youth pastors, leaders, and parents will also want to explore with teens the small group study at the end of the book with its unique take on spiritual warfare that emphasizes the biblical theme of humility. This is a perfect book to read with a group and discuss together the implications of Nick’s struggles for their lives.
Delve into this imaginative story about the reality of the spiritual war. Sign up to review the book in the sidebar!

ISLAND BREEZES

Dragon Seed? That sounds like something to plant in the back garden. In a way it is. It’s what can be planted in the garden of the human heart.

This is a good allegory that teens can relate to. Hopefully, it will touch them enough that they will take the antidote for dragon seeds seriously.

I’ll be passing on this book to my grandson. One doesn’t have to be a young person to enjoy and appreciate this book. Even grannies do.

Thank you, Mr. Machowski, for this book. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your work.

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

Marty

Author Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for more than twenty years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the gospel-centered children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He is also the Executive Editor for Children’s Resources at New Growth Press.

Marty Machowski, who studied industrial design in college, learned to combine the creativity of art with the discipline of mechanical engineering. He reflects on how his background specifically prepared him for his current ministry as an author. “Thinking up the hundreds of object lessons for the Gospel Story for Kids curriculum used problem solving creativity I learned as an industrial designer. It was exciting and challenging to create fun games and object lessons for kids that communicated the biblical concepts of the weekly lessons.”

The Captain’s Daughter

July 4th, 2017

The Captain’s Daughter

captain
By Jennifer Delamere

Warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

ISLAND BREEZES

Sometimes when a captain goes to sea, he doesn’t return. Sometimes the family he leaves behind ar3 by various circumstances separated from each other.

It came time for Rosalyn to leave her sisters, and make her way in the world as a lady’s maid. Then circumstances once again intervene and Rosalyn ends up in London alone and with nothing.

Only by chance did become employed as a costumer for one of the London theaters. Nate also by chance ended up working at the same theatre and befriended Rosalyn. Their friendship slowly becomes more.

Boy meets girl. Boy wants to go back to India. Girl loves her job and never wants to leave the theater. Is there any way these two can compromise?

***I received this book free of charge from Litfuse.***

jennifer

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, “An Heiress at Heart,” was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, “A Lady Most Lovely,” received a starred review from “Publishers Weekly” and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere | Blog Tour and 5-Book Giveaway

July 3rd, 2017

Be transported to 1880s London and meet a talented musician and singer in the new Victorian romance novel from Jennifer Delamere, The Captain’s Daughter. When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. Meanwhile London holds bitter memories for Nate Moran that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

Enter to win a copy of The Captain’s Daughter. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced July 10th on the Litfuse blog!

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