Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Elusive Hope by MaryLu Tyndall October 30, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:03 am
Tags: , ,

elusive hope

Elusive Hope by MaryLu Tyndall

From the back cover:

Falling in Love Was Never Part of Their Plans

On the shores of Brazil, their Confederate friends are seeking a Southern utopia. But Hayden Gale and Magnolia Scott have different plans. Hayden is out for revenge and vows to keep pursuing his father—at any cost—whom he blames for his mother’s death. Magnolia is looking for a way out. . .and a way back home after her father insists their family escape the South following the Civil War. As the fledgling colony of New Hope struggles to survive, they both seek to use the other for their own purposes. Falling in love was never part of their plans.

My thoughts:

MaryLu Tyndall (insert sigh here)….she knows how to write a good book.

Elusive Hope is the second book in a series. I did read the first one which lays some ground work for this book. However, I think you could read the second book and still catch up quickly with what’s going on.

MaryLu’s attention to detail as she describes Brazil, the jungle, bugs and smells makes you feel like you are sitting there with the characters. It brings back memories of Gilligan’s Island, but without all the comic relief.

Our heroine in this story is a tough one to have a lot of sympathy for but you do find it, especially if you have ever struggled with being good enough for a parent. Magnolia is a bit of a snot and wants what she wants when she wants it. Yet, underneath of all that you know she is a broken little girl who needs to know the love of Jesus.

Hayden, the hero, is hard to trust. He, too, has his issues that he needs to overcome. He seems self-centered and uncaring but beneath his tough exterior is a boy with a broken relationship with his father who needs to come to his Heavenly Father for redemption.

Can these two find love, will they find grace in Jesus? You’ll just have to read the book to find out 🙂

Grab your copy at your local bookstore (this book releases November 1st), Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

Check out the book trailer here. If this doesn’t make you want to read it don’t know what will.

Visit MaryLu’s website here.

A ebook of this book was given to me by the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.


Born Of Persuasion only $1.99 October 29, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

46d06-born_of_persuasionI just wanted to share that a book I reviewed a while back is only $1.99 for Kindle: Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta. I highly recommend this book if you like historical romance with a bit of gothic twist. I REALLY liked this book.

You can read my review here.

You can order the book here.


Review and Giveaway: Heart of the Country October 28, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:56 am
Tags: , ,

heart of the country

Heart of the Country


Rene Gutteridge and John Ward

From the back cover:

Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father’s stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he’s on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.

When rumors of the Michovs’ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can’t understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?

My thoughts and giveaway:

I glanced at the movie for this book before I started reading and I will be honest, I was worried I might not like the book. But I had to remind myself that books are almost always better than movies and that was the case for Heart of the Country.

I really enjoyed this modern telling of the prodigal. I liked being in the head of the older sister (Olivia) who stayed with her dad while her younger sister (Faith)  left –something I can relate to personally — and watching her heart soften and their relationship heal.

There is a very moving moment that brought me to tears (always a good sign that I like a book) when Luke’s dad stands up for his son. A beautiful picture of what Christ does for us. It reminded me of how God uses me and my story, as messy as it is, to help others. I know He has my back and He’s not ashamed of me because I am His daughter.

There are a few twists and turns in the plot that will having you flipping pages to find out what happens next and how God will heal Faith and Luke’s marriage. This is a great Genesis 5020 story.

After reading the book I think I can appreciate the movie more and plan on giving it another chance now that I have a better understanding of the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it as a great reminder of Christ’s amazing love for us all.

Watch the trailer for the movie here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or Books-A-Million.

Leave a comment by November 3rd at 5:00 PM to be entered in the drawing to win your own copy. (U.S. residents only)

Visit Rene’s website here.

A copy of this book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.


Jesus is Enough October 25, 2013

Filed under: Cool videos — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:52 am
Tags: , ,

feet-in-chainsIs Jesus really enough? Do you really believe it? Deep down in your very being, is He enough to heal your wounds, your marriage, take away your shame, set you free from addictions?

If you said yes, do you live like that is true or do you live a defeated lifestyle?

I was sent a video a couple of weeks ago and I sat there and wept as I watched. I realized I often live like Jesus isn’t enough. I often live like I have to hold onto my chains, like I am afraid to let them go because I might go back.

I thought I would share this video with you. I hope you will be as touched by it as I was and know that Jesus is enough.

Check the video out here.

In what way do you need Jesus to be enough today?


Write to the Point with Diane Dean White October 23, 2013

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:58 am
Tags: , , ,

Diane1[1]I am very excited to introduce you to Diane Dean White. We met on the AFCW (American Fiction Christian Writers) critique loop and started critiquing each others work. It was also fun to find out she is originally from Michigan. I hope you will take some time and enjoy her interview.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

My hubby and I are empty nesters…our children are grown. Our daughter and her husband and grand gals make their home in China, where his work took them for a few years. Our youngest son and wife are serving in Sochi, Russia presently…which leaves our oldest son, in South Carolina, but still too far away. I was raised in the college town of East Lansing next to the state capitol of Michigan. It was a great place to live! I started writing on an old black manual Royal typewriter in sixth grade. I wrote my first book in eighth grade, which was probably read by my grandmother only, and my friend who did the art work. I had a book of poetry published in my senior year of high school. I started working as a newspaper reporter in the late 70’s, and then took time to raise our family, and was a stay-at-home Mom. My best and favorite job ever! I continued doing stringer work, family history and eventually donor appeal writing for non-profit organizations. In the late 90’s I started to write short stories which were picked up by a number of publications and later two books. I became a weekly columnist for a magazine in Michigan and when we moved from South Carolina to Florida I started my book, On a Summer Night.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I always believed in Jesus and prayed often, but I didn’t realize the steps to salvation; the church I attended didn’t teach that. I was involved in a number of youth activities all my life, and counseled at summer church camp. It was after Steve and I were first married he led me to Christ and I made a personal commitment, and He became Lord of my life.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

That we can make mistakes in life but there is always forgiveness, when we seek it from Christ. And when others are involved, forgiveness needs to be for them as well. This isSummerNightCoverLarge what sets us free, and unshackles our chains.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

Oh, this new world of technology! I don’t blog, but I’ve had a website, for a number of years. I presently have a new site called Simple Pleasures with Diane, Favorite Things, and my Facebook page. I don’t tweet or text and I don’t even have a cell phone…love my landline! Some times change is hard. J

What are you reading right now?

When I went to get a pedicure last week I grabbed my Kindle and started to read Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips. It looked like a fun read, and it was very humorous. I about laughed out loud and realized I needed to be careful, and not jerk my legs, I might get jabbed with an instrument from the gal doing my toes!

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

I can’t point to anyone time when I feel the enemy was trying to hurt me, but I know my faith has to be strong to keep Satan at a distance. I constantly find myself asking the Lord to keep Satan away and fill me with His undeserving love. After all he knows he has the world and non-Christian folk, so he has to work overtime on those who love Christ.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

I often autograph my books and under my name write Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give thee the desires of thy heart.” I feel he’s done that with my writing.

Where can we find you on the web?

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

I’d like to thank Melissa for having me as her guest. It’s not often I meet a fellow Michigander on the loop, and I’ve enjoyed Melissa’s blogs and sweet spirit. I also hope readers will feel free to ask questions on their comments, or email me.

Thanks for sharing, Diane. I know my readers love meeting new authors. I pray God’s blessing on your writing.


Greetings from the Flipside October 21, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:40 pm
Tags: , ,

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people’s greeting cards since she was six years old — there’s always a funnier caption. She’s all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can’t write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple’s month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral — everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it’s not that easy to rent a place when you’ve been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization’s humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of >Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

I just received this book this weekend and I was gone all weekend so I have not had a chance to read it. I will add a review to this post when I have 🙂


Merciful Scar October 16, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:01 am
Tags: , , ,


The Merciful Scar


Rebecca St.James and Nancy Rue

Book Description

Kirsten has spent her life trying to forget. But mercy begs her to remember.

When she was in high school, a terrible accident fractured her family, and the only relief Kirsten could find was carving tiny lines into her skin, burying her pain in her flesh. The pain she caused herself was neat and manageable compared to the emotional pain that raged inside.

She was coping. Or so she thought.

But then, eight years later, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten learns he’s been secretly seeing her best friend. Desperate to escape her feelings, she reaches for the one thing that gives her a sense of control in the midst of chaos.

But this time the cut isn’t so tiny, and it lands her in the psych hospital. Within hours of being there she knows she can’t stay—she isn’t crazy, after all. But she can’t go back to the life she knew before either.

So when her pastor mentions a treatment program on a working ranch, Kirsten decides to take him up on the offer and get away from it all. But the one thing she can’t escape is herself—and her shame.

The ranch is home to a motley crew, each with a lesson to teach. Ever so slowly, Kirsten opens herself to embrace healing—even the scarred places that hurt the most. Mercy begs her to remember the past . . . showing her there’s nothing that cannot be redeemed.

My thoughts:

Wow. This book is powerful.

I have never been a cutter and honestly never understood how someone could do that to themselves. But reading about it from Kirsten’s perspective (your main character) gave me a better understanding of the relief it gives to those who are hurting on the inside.

The first part of the book is so griping you will find it hard to put down as you read about the pain and confusion Kirsten suffers from and wonder about the wounds from her past that have led her to this point.

You will want to ring her boyfriend’s neck at the selfishness that is so evident in him.

Once she reaches the ranch that action slows for a bit but it all serves a purpose in a gaining a deeper understanding into Kirsten’s healing.

If you know someone, or are someone, who has suffered from deep emotional wounds (I think we all have) I believe you will be deeply touched by this book. It is laced with the hope and healing of Jesus Christ that is freely given to all.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for an honest review.


A Must Read for your Tween Daughter October 15, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , ,

discover truthMy Name is Erin: One Girl’s Journey to Discover the Truth:

Is truth real? How do you define truth? What happens when your definition of truth is not the same as your best friend? Or your parents? Whose truth becomes the real truth?
See a problem?
The culture says truth can change. God’s Word says Truth is solid.
In My Name is Erin: One Girls Journey to Discover Truth you will be guided by Erin to learn
-Truth is not defined by your circumstances, your heart, or your mind
-Truth can be discovered – not created
-How to protect yourself and your friends with Truth
-Lies that masquerade as Truth
-How to make invisible spy ink

discover who she itMy Name is Erin: One Girl’s Journey to Discover Who She Is:

Come meet Erin. Like you she has struggled with many questions about being a girl.

Why does it matter that God created men and women?

Why did God make guys and girls so different?

Why does gender (that’s just a fancy word for the traits that make girls girls and boys boys) matter anyway?

So, she set out on a journey to learn who she is. From the only place she could – God’s Word. After all, He was the one who made her and the only One who could really answer her questions.

And she learned that whether you’re a mega tomboy, a pretty-pretty princess, or someone somewhere in between, God has a plan for your girlhood that goes way beyond ribbons and curls. You were made to bring God glory and the purpose of your design is to point to Him.

make a differenceMy Name is Erin: One Girl’s Mission to Make a Difference:

Do you often wonder why? Why am I here? Do I serve a purpose? God says yes. No matter your age or your circumstances – you have a powerful purpose. Do you have a passion for something? The poor? A country? Justice?  Because you are in school doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it now. Your purpose and your passion intersect. For a reason. Read My Name is Erin: One Girl’s Mission to Make a Difference and:

  • Discover and replace your fake purpose with your real purpose.
  • Learn how to stop waiting and live as a mission-minded girl NOW.
  • Be inspired by stories of girls like you that said “Yes, Lord.”

radical fathMy Name is Erin: One Girl’s Plan for Radical Faith:

Maybe you’ve had a moment-a time in your history when God did something radical in your heart. Putting your faith and trust in Him certainly feels like taking a giant leap, but really it’s just the beginning of the exciting, and-yes-radical journey that comes with agreeing to live as God calls you to.
What does being radical look like? In the Bible, the common characteristics are:
* They trusted God.
* They listened to God’s voice and then obeyed-even when it cost them.
* Because of their faith, they lived lives that looked different from everyone else’s.
That’s a short list and a tall order, but basically it means you can be a radical too. There’s nothing on that list that is impossible for you. There’s nothing on that list that requires you to be older, or more financially stable, or to have a college degree. No matter who you are or where you live you can live a radical faith.
Meet Erin, she has learned practical ways to do just that.

My thoughts:

This is an awesome series for your tween. I would say eleven to fourteen(ish)-year-olds would enjoy these books.

Erin writes in a way that will resonate with young girls. She doesn’t shy away from tough issues but doesn’t go places that would make moms uncomfortable either.

I love that the books has places for reflection for the girls to actually write in the book and think about what they are reading.

The books are small and cute (just what a girl likes) and a quick read. For me I could read each book in about an hour but for my daughter I would suggest reading a chapter a day so she can reflect on each chapter.

As always, I think reading it with your daughter or before you give her the books will give you a greater benefit so you can have conversations with her about what she is reading.

If you are looking for ways to open up conversation between you and your tween (and what mom isn’t?) this could be what you are looking for. I highly recommend this series 🙂

Grab your copies at your local book store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or Books-A-Million.

Visit Erin’s website here. A great place for moms and girls.

Copies of these books were given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Review and Giveaway: Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris October 14, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,


Dangerous Passage


Lisa Harris

From the back cover:

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common–a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. As they venture deep into a sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities–and their hearts.

My thoughts and giveaway:

A read a review on this book by another reviewer before I read Dangerous Passage. I find I usually agree with this reviewer so when I read a not-so-great review I was expecting not to like this book very much.

I was wrong.

I really enjoyed this book and think Lisa Harris is a great author. She had me flipping pages to the point that I was surprised when I was halfway done and then when I only had fifty more pages to go I was dying to know how she would wrap this up.

Both of the main characters are great. Avery is a strong, career-minded woman who is very busy (what woman can’t relate?) but wants to give time to her daughter and to Jackson, the guy she has been dating.

Jackson adores Avery and will do whatever it takes to protect her and win her heart.

This book has romance, action and suspense and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this type of read.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

Visit Lisa’s website here.

To win a copy leave a comment by October 20th  at 5:00 pm to be entered in the drawing. (U.S. residents only)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Highly Recommended October 11, 2013

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:03 am
Tags: , , ,


Before I share today’s thought, I just wanted to let you know there will be no post next Friday. I will be serving on a Walk to Emmaus. Pray for all the women who will be there, it will be an unforgetable experience for them.

I was at a music conference many years ago and saw one of my old professors. I had been with her all through my undergraduate work. She watched me student teach and then she wrote a letter of recommendation for me. She was very impressed with all the growth I had made through the years and thought I would make an excellent elementary music teacher.

I looked right at her and she didn’t know who I was. Now maybe if I went up to her and asked her she would have remembered me but I am a quiet person and didn’t say anything.

I am sure we all have done this. We know someone so well but then you go years without seeing them and then don’t even know who they are.

The sad part is, we do the same think to God. When we first come to know Him we are so excited we want to share the good news with everyone.

We “highly recommend” this Jesus person. We see Him at work in our lives in other’s lives. We know Him when we see Him. 

But after a few years, the newness wears off. We stop talking about Him to anyone who will listen, we don’t want to offend anyone. We stop seeing Him work in our lives. 

Before we know it years have passed and we haven’t seen Him and the fact of the matter is we wouldn’t even recognize Him if we did because we have gotten so far away from Him that WE have changed. 

Not him.  Jesus never changes, He never moves, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  

But we change. We allow the things in this world to take us away from Him. We don’t know notice when He is standing right in front of us, looking at us.  And like me with my old professor, He isn’t going to jump in your face and force you to look at Him.

Do you still see God everywhere you look? He is there. Do you still highly recommend him to others? You should. Don’t allow yourself to get so far away that you don’t even see Him anymore or recognize him when He is standing  right in front you. 

He’s smiling kindly, He’s thinking…remember me, we were once very close, I want to be close again, I am here waiting, whenever you are ready, I am here.

If this is you I urge you to look around and see Him, He is right there beside you.  Do you recognize Him?

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luke 24:31 NLT

Where you are seeing Jesus in your life right now? Please share, we love hearing about it 🙂