Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

A December Bride by Denise Hunter December 31, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:55 pm
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december bride

A December Bride

by

Denise Hunter

Book Description:

A year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed. What started as a whim turned into an accidental—and very public—engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season—for the sake of her career . . . and his heart? Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy—the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiance—would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency—a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client. For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.
My thoughts:
I am so excited about this new series. Each book is written by an amazing author and Denise Hunter kicked it off with this first book, A December Bride.
When I read a novella I don’t expect to get pulled too deeply into the story because it’s so short, which is why I like novellas. They are a quick read. But my heart was twisting at the tension and romance between Seth and Layla.
This was a wonderful December/Christmas/New Years read. I loved this book.
So many great moments in this book. Denise will keep you guessing how the characters will get out of the mess they are in and when will Layla wake up and see what a totally awesome guy Seth is?
Well, you’ll have to grab your own copy to find the answers to these questions. The novella’s are all reasonably priced for ebook so don’t be shy about getting yourself a copy. The book is also out on audio.
A January Bride review will follow soon.
Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million .
Visit Denise Hunter’s website here.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
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In My Defense by Leigh Ann Bryant December 30, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:11 pm
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in my defense

In My Defense

by

Leigh Ann Bryant

Book Overview:

When Leigh Ann’s prince charming turned from the man of her dreams into the monster of her nightmares, she knew she had to do something to protect herself and her toddler son. One night, covered in blood from her husband’s knife, Leigh Ann, a 26-year-old nurse, shot and killed him in a desperate move of self-defense.

Jailed and charged with murder, she faced a new battle—one that could send her to prison for the rest of her life. Overwhelmed with depression and anger, she wanted to give up, but when she responded to the knock of Jesus Christ on her heart, love, joy, and peace took over.

Finally free from the bonds of shame and guilt, she faced her trial with courage and faithfulness.

Will the prosecutor prevail in his quest to see her locked away in prison, or will she finally be free to raise her son in a safe and loving home?

In My Defense is for anyone who has felt alone or helpless at the hands of abuse—whether emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual. It offers tangible hope for victims—and those who love them—who are earnestly seeking the light of healing and freedom. Leigh Ann’s story will grip you and shake you and never let you go.

My thoughts:

I really didn’t know what to expect when reading a memoir. I’ve never read one before. But if you didn’t know In My Defense was a memoir you would think you are reading a fiction book. But unfortunately, the events in this book are all true.

As I read I was captivated by the downward spiral of Leigh Ann’s and Vincent’s relationship. I was frustrated by her at times when she didn’t walk away from the relationship when it was obvious Vincent wasn’t going to keep his word.

But I have never been in a relationship like hers and I might have done the same thing in that situation. If Vincent was as charming as the book portrayed maybe I would have wanted to believe him. Not to mention Leigh Ann’s wounds she carried from her childhood into adulthood. I do understand that. She believed she wasn’t good enough for anything else and blamed herself for most of what happened.

This book will hold you captive as we you wait to read the words of redemption that you know will come, when Leigh Ann finds her identity in Christ and receives His amazing grace.

If you are hesitant to read a memoir I encourage you to give this one a try I don’t think you will be disappointed.

And the best part of all is Leigh Ann has turned her story into a Genesis 5020 story. She is using what the enemy meant for harm for God’s glory and to help other women in the same situation.

Visit Leigh Ann’s website here.

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

An ebook of this book has been given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

Dear God December 27, 2013

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:59 pm
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I was looking through some old things that I’ve written and came across a letter I wrote to God on the last day of 2009. Although it is several years old it is a good reminder for all of us of how good God really is. I know I need to be reminded at times because life isn’t perfect, is it? But God doesn’t change.

The letter is pretty long but I hope you will be blessed by it and maybe take some time to write your own letter to God this New Year and reflect on 2013 and the blessings He has lavished on you or maybe you need to pour your heart out to Him in your brokenness and hope for a better year in 2014. God is in the business of making all things new 🙂 

Have a Happy New Year!!

embraceDear God,

Today is the last day in 2009.  I just wanted to reflect on this year. I never thought the worse thing I could ever do would turn into the best thing You could ever do. But Your word says you make ALL things beautiful. Not just something’s, but ALL.

You have done just that.

This year started with stress, stress in my job, discontent there. The worse musical I ever did with my students.  But you turned that around.  Good things were happening in my ministry at church, you never stopped using me. The kids were great, Meara did well in school, Kieran got cuter with each passing day.

Yet, my life with you was not intimate and that reflected into my marriage, didn’t it Lord?  I read my devotions, I read my Christian books. I had moments of seeing you a bit more clearly but it all too quickly faded away and I was left wanting more. I didn’t think I could find it in my current life. I figured things were they way they were forever.

My marriage lacked connection. I longed for connection-of course I did, I needed it from You.

But I went looking elsewhere.

I finally gave into Facebook and I knew I would find connection, it was a matter of time.  I fought Patrick so hard, he couldn’t understand. Why would he? He thought everything was fine and I guess I thought it was too. I wouldn’t fall again, I just wanted a little attention from somebody, I wanted to feel wanted by somebody other than the person that HAD to because he married me.

I found it, or so I thought.

 I believed every lie the enemy threw at me. How could I have been so blind?  But this is not a time for remorse. No, I want to rejoice in you.

Lord, out of my pit You saved me. My heart was hard but You were patient with me, You never gave up on me, You never walked away.

The amazing thing is You sent my husband to show me Your great love. I never knew what Patrick was truly made of until he jumped in the pit with me and started pushing me up out of it. How strong he was.

I fought him so hard, trying to break free, thinking I belonged in the pit of my despair, that he should just climb out and leave me there to my own devices. He didn’t, he could have, he had every reason to leave me there.

But he didn’t.  You made him so strong.

Little by little I clawed my way to the top of the pit. It did not happen over night, I slide down a few times and thought it might just be easier to stay, to stop trying. And I think there were times when Patrick thought the same thing, what’s the use, is it really worth this?

We kept on fighting, and finally I was at the top of the pit, with Patrick pushing me up and as my hand reached up over the edge for something to pull me completely out I felt Your hand grasp mine.  I looked up and saw Your eyes smiling down on me. I was covered in filth, nothing beautiful to behold, yet the King of Kings looked at me with so much love my breath caught. Then You knelt down and said, “I’ve been waiting for you, my beloved.”

Me? You were waiting for me? Why, after all I did. After all the lies I told, you waited for me?  Why Lord, why? You pulled me out and drew me into Your embrace and there I asked for forgiveness, I wept and I clung.

The journey did not end there, Patrick and have grown closer and more honest than ever before. I never thought I could have a marriage like I do. I didn’t know Patrick was such a warrior, but I see now he is everything I always dreamed of and You gave him to me. I also never knew such love from both of you. I thought I had to be perfect to get real love and since I knew I never could be perfect I thought I would never know real love.  

 I don’t have to be perfect.

Lord, my Father, my relationship with You is utterly the most important thing in my life.  I hate days when I don’t take time to talk to You or listen to You. I am sorry for those days.

I know what true love is now, I have tasted it and felt it. I never knew I could feel this way about You or that You felt this way about me. It amazes me and never stops.

You truly have taken the single worse thing I have ever done and used it for Your glory. I pray that You never stop using it for Your glory, I want my life to glorify You.

You are beautiful. My words simply cannot express all that I am feeling. But You know my heart. I know you can take anything and make something beautiful, You are so good.

Last night as I lay in bed I was overcome with joy. My life could be so different, You could have taken all of this away from me and that is what I deserved but You in your goodness did not. You took nothing away from me, in fact You gave me a new marriage and a better understanding of Your great love. 

I know I still don’t fully comprehend that, but I understand more than ever before. You have given me a greater vision for my life. You have given me so much more than I deserve.  Thank you is not enough.

2009 could have easily been the worse year of my life but once again you have proven that you take the broken and make something new.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43: 18-19

 You have done that in my life Lord. And now my new verse I am memorizing going into 2010 is this:

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2: 2-3

 I want that for the world Lord. Show me how to do that, I don’t want any other women to feel they have to steal love to get love. It is freely give from you. May 2010 be year I start to make that happen, with your power.

Thank your for you goodness, your great love that I will never deserve but I will forever be grateful for.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

Thank you for allowing this pain that I had to go through to get me to where I am now.

Thank you for giving me an amazing husband, the strongest man I know.

Thank you for loving him and empowering him to get through the worse suffering he has probably ever known.

Thank you for making him my warrior.

With ALL my heart….

Your Beloved, Melissa

 

Broken Identity by Sarah Jae Foster December 23, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:46 pm
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broken

Broken Identity

by

Sarah Jae Foster

Description:

A Christian woman has an affair.

It’s a betrayal beyond mention.

She stands to lose everything.

Mona Leigh Anderson, a good mother and even better wife, is unaware that her tidy and sheltered world is going to explode into a thousand pieces. And by her own hand, she launches the grenade of destruction.

Brian Anderson is a principled man, a leader in the church. Never in all his days did he believe his marriage could come to such a heart-rending testing of his faith, although this is exactly what he’s about to endure.

Damaged by deception and infidelity, Mona and Brian seek to repair the mistrust between them because that is the right thing to do. But can they truly let go of the past and of the most egregious of marital sins, and survive in this world of seduction?

My thoughts:

If you know my story you will know why I chose to review this book.

I have to say this book rocked me. I loved it and hated it. I hated it only because it was so real it made me remember when I was that woman and I didn’t like reading about her or the pain she put her husband through.

Yes, the book was that good, it was too real for me.

When I first started reading it I was rolling my eyes a bit because Brian, the husband, came off as too perfect and I was thinking if a husband is so perfect why would Mona cheat on him?

I am so glad I stuck with the book. By the end you realized that Mona was seeing her husband through her broken, shamefilled, eyes and making him perfect because all she sees is her sin. I have so been there.

It broke my heart to watch Mona slowly fade into a woman who would have an affair and I saw so much of me in her. It starts with insecurities on the inside and moves to trying to make her outside more appealing. She gets attention from a man and it just takes one small compromise that doesn’t seem like a big deal but then another compromise follows, and another and another. Soon that small compromise has snowballed into life changing choices.

My heart broke as I read about Brian discovering his wife’s infidelity and his choice to love her through it. I saw my husband in him and it made me sad to remember what I put him through.

But the book screams of redemption and God’s amazing grace and how He uses imperfect vessels like us to show that grace to other people.

I highly recommend this book whether you have had an affair or not. If you have it will remind you, or give you hope, that God’s grace is enough. If you haven’t had an affair it will give you a better understanding how a Christian woman can be deceived into falling into that sin.

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

An ebook copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Joy of Giving December 20, 2013

Filed under: Cool videos — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:37 am
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christmas-packagesI had to share this video with you as we are so close to Christmas. For some strange reason it made me cry. Just seeing people surprised by gifts brings my heart joy.

May you be filled with the joy and wonder of the gift of our Savior this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

Click here.

 

Write to the Point with Ada Brownell December 18, 2013

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:49 am
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adabrownellADA BROWNELL

Ada Brownell’s  prolific writing career began with youth publications when she was the youth leader at her church . In Christian education she’s taught upper elementary, middle school, high school, college and career, young marrieds. During her years as a reporter at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado, she interviewed young achievers in music, sports, academics, beauty, careers, and other pursuits. Ada wrote about the latest fashions and how to present yourself for success. Interviewed teen moms and those who work with them and reported on teens affected by substance abuse. She reviewed statistics annually and talked to health experts about teen pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; interviewed judges who sentence juvenile offenders; and wrote about the tragedy of mental illness and suicide among teens. She studied, taught and wrote about how youth can discover faith, even when society tries to keep them from believing. She believes anyone can find joy in Jesus and an abundant, successful life here and for eternity.

Brownell has a B.S. Degree in mass communications and a certificate of ministry from Berean School of the Bible, now Global University.

She is the author of Imagine the Future You, a motivational Bible study for youth; Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, a suspense novel; and Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, a book and Bible study for the grieving, support groups, religion classes, those with a troubling diagnosis, those who fear death or are curious about it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries

Twitter: @adellerella

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

We met Ada a while ago. Click here to read her first interview. Read below to see what she is up to now.

Tell us about your newest book.

Imagine the Future You, a motivational Bible study for youth released Nov. 10, 2013, and a book I’m excited to have available. Here’s the short summary:

Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. Through your attitudes, your sense of wonder, your hunger for knowledge and IMAGINEfrontcoverseeking out the things that matter, you are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow your talents, and how to begin believing in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful Future You!

One reviewer said, “How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell’s knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion,”

This sounds like a much needed book Ada. I hope it gets into a lot of teens hands. They need this desperately.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Writing is what I’ve done nearly all my life. I started free lancing in my teens and worked a number of decades as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. But we had five children, and they and our grandchildren have been my greatest satisfaction. I worked with youth many years, and even a couple of years after retirement taught in an after-school and summers program that was a biblical training program for upper elementary students. As a woman, my life is filled with cooking, cleaning, and enjoying get-togethers with family and friends. I am part of a wonderful Bible study and prayer.group. My husband and I exercise several times a week, but my body can’t enjoy the tennis and other active things of yesterday. Yet there is the Wii! I can even play baseball on that.

Where do you get your ideas?

From observation and deep thinking about God’s Word, our awesome world, our wonderfully created bodies, problems, needs or things I can share. Many ideas come in the night. Yet, some ideas come during prayer and even when I sit down at the computer, and those I am sure are from the Lord. Yet, I have to write them down, flesh them out, look at different and fresh approaches, do research, find illustrations, etc.

Do you outline or are you a seat-of-the-pants writer?

A reporter takes his notes and begins writing. You train your mind to pick out the most important angle of the story, try to crunch it into a short hook, and write. With novels, I do character sketches, and rough outlines for the plot that bring in complications, twists and turns.

Yet, I wrote most of my 100,000-word novel, The Lady Fugitive, in five weeks during American Christian Fiction Writers’ Novel Track in 2011. I put it aside for two other books, but I’ve been polishing it and expect to have it in the hands of an editor in a few weeks.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

In today’s world, if you believe in a book, you can publish it. My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, was published by the Assemblies of God, but Amazon’s CreateSpace opened the door for me to quickly get my last three books on the market. As a senior citizen, that’s important.

Are you like any of the characters in your book?

As a redhead, I probably have some of the spunk of Jennifer Louise Parks from The Lady Fugitive, but I haven’t experienced the ongoing spiritual doubts and hardships she has to overcome.

Anything you would like to add?

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest. It’s a privilege to share from my life, the love of the awesome God we serve, and the things the Lord has done.

You’re so welcome Ada. I pray God continues to bless your work.

Readers, Ada is giving away an e-book of her book Imagine the Future You. I hope you will take the opportunity to win it for that teen in your life who needs to be reminded of all God has for them.

Leave a comment by December 24th at 5:00 pm to be entered to win.

 

Martyr’s Fire by Sigmund Brouwer December 16, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:27 pm
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martyer's fire

Martyr’s Fire

by

Sigmund Brower

About the book:

Will this dangerous quest lead the outcast Orphan King toward an ancient secret—or to certain destruction?

Posing as a beggar, Thomas escapes Magnus after fifteen men, who are calling themselves the Priests of the Holy Grail, arrive and take control of the castle through wondrous acts and apparent miracles. With the help of his longtime friend Gervaise, Thomas sets out on a journey that leads him to the ancient Holy Land. Unaware that Katherine and Hawkwood are watching over him, Thomas is tested in his beliefs and comes face to face with the ancient power that the Merlins and Druids have long been searching for.

Enter the world of Merlin’s Immortals, where ancient secrets and evil conspiracies take you on a breathless adventure of discovery, intrigue, and hidden knowledge.
My thoughts:

This is a book for that young reader in your life (although I am enjoying the series as well). This is for the teen or tween who likes the Harry Potter type of book. But this book has spiritual elements peppered throughout to give the young reader something to think about.

I have read the first two book in the series and I think if you haven’t read those you might be a bit confused. It even took me a few chapters to remember everything that happened in the first two books. Therefore, I do recommend reading the first two books before diving into this one.

This book is full of tense moments that will keep you flipping the pages to see what will happen to Thomas and his group of friends that quietly watch out for him. You will also be wondering who can Thomas really trust?

I have really enjoyed this series and highly recommend it to anyone who likes books that have a bit of that medieval flare to it.

If you are still looking for a gift for that  teen in your life you might want to consider grabbing this series for them.

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

Visit Sigmund’s website here.

To read the author bio click here.

Read the first chapter here.

For more information click here.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.