Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

There’s No I in God…..or is There? January 31, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:56 am
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hands 2The other day someone approached me and said that all of our worship songs are about “I, me, we, us” and that they like hymns better because they aren’t that way.

I was caught off guard, I told them I would have to mull that over.

As I thought about that comment I realized most hymns contain these same words, “This is MY Story,” “I’LL Fly Away,” “Bless Assurance Jesus is MINE,” “Be Thou MY Vision,” “What can wash away MY sin.” The list can go one but I think you get the hint.

My point here is that I, me, we, us, are in God. I don’t know how to sing about God without me in it because I am in Jesus!!! His word says abide in Me and I will abide in you. He created us for relationship and with relationship comes words like we and us. Without a relationship we just have religion and I don’t want that.

Our ancestors understood that when they were writing hymns, we need to be in Christ and He needs to be in US. Jesus is Mine, and I want His vision to be MY vision.

I don’t want to take me out of Jesus, or Jesus out of me, do you? I would be lost, hopeless.

We aren’t being self-centered in our worship when we sing about how much WE love Jesus, how He saved US. We are being completely God-centered and that is the only way we should be.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV

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Sisterchicks do the Hula by Robin Jones Gunn January 30, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:31 am
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sisterchicks do the hula

Sisterchicks do the Hula

by

Robin Jones Gunn

About This Book

Some dreams take a while before they come true. Best friends Hope and Laurie never made it to Hawaii during their college years. But when they’re about to turn forty, the islands still beckon, and off they go – with an unexpected stowaway on board (Hope happens to be seven months pregnant). A little pineapple, a little sunshine, and a surprising little surfing lesson give these two sisterchicks all their crazy hearts could hope for – and more – as they enter the next season of their lives with a splash and with a beautiful vision of what God has dreamed up for them.
Wherever there’s chocolate, there’s sure to be a sisterchick celebrating, and this trip to Hawaii is no exception. Best friends Hope and Laurie are on an audacious mission to commemorate their fortieth birthdays in style. Surfing and sailing, sushi and snorkeling—these two macadamia nuts from the mainland sample it all, unhindered by a surprise little stowaway.

My thoughts:

This is a fun read. I have only read a couple of Sisterchicks books and it’s been years since I have read them.

You will be transported to Hawaii and feel like you are there with your BFF. Robin does a great job of painting a picture and taking you there. This book was especially fun to read this winter since it has been so cold in Michigan.

With that being said I find that I struggle with books that lack tension and this book really didn’t have any. In my mind I kept thinking something would happen, Laurie would drop a bomb that her marriage wasn’t as great as it seemed or something would happen with Hope’s stowaway. But that never happened. Sure, they had some struggles but nothing major, it was all a bit too perfect.

However, the growth these women experience in becoming closer to God is a very strong element in this book and truly beautiful by the time the end rolls around.

If you want a nice relaxing read that will warm up your insides on these cold winter days you might want to pick this book up give it a read.

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

Visit Robin’s website here.

For more info. click here.

For Robin’s bio click here.

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

 

Write to the Point with Lillian Duncan January 29, 2014

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:55 pm
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Lillian DuncanThis week we get write to the point with Lillian Duncan. I interviewed  Lillian a while ago. You can read her first interview here. She has giveaway for you so read until the end to find out how to enter (it’s not through my blog).

Tell us about your newest book.

My newest book is BETRAYED. It’s the second in my Sisters By Choice series. Even though the books are romantic suspense, they also show the strong bonds between women when they face a crisis together.

BETRAYED is the story of Maria as she struggles to create a good life for her daughter in spite of being in the Witness Protection Program.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I do some crafting now and then. Also, my husband and I like to go camping. And by camping I mean with air conditioning, cable TV, and Wi-Fi! I enjoy playing and spending time with my 2 dogs and 3 parrots.

Your idea of camping is just like mine 🙂

Where do you get your ideas?

Each book happens in a different way. Sometimes, a scene pops in my head. Sometimes, I have an idea that I want to promote. For BETRAYED, I had written some of Maria’s story in DECEPTION, but it was edited out. Maria wasn’t happy about that and insisted I tell her story as well—so I did!

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

I am a definite seat-of-the-pants writer. No outline at all. I sit down and I write. I never know what’s going to happen until it does. I learn about my characters as they show up in the story. I’ve tried outlining, but it doesn’t work for me.

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

I can’t really say that I do, but there is one book that I haven’t tried to get published yet. It’s more of a supernatural horror story. I may do something with that this year. Or not!

Are you like any of the characters in your book?

I’d say it’s more of a case of wishing I was like them. I’m more of a thinker while my characters are more about action.

Are you working on a new project now?

I’m working on edits for the third book in the Sisters By Choice series, REDEMPTION. Along with that I’m working on a new mystery novella series entitled DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS that features a crime-fighting speech pathologist! I was a speech pathologist for more than 30 years so this story was a lot of fun for me to write.

Anything you would like to add?

To celebrate the release of BETRAYED, I’m giving away a virtual gift basket at Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. The virtual gift basket includes e-copies of all my books. Along with the books, a $25 Amazon gift card is included plus a few books from some writer friends. To enter the contest, simply hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com, leave a comment on the post titled CELEBRATION! Winner will be chosen and announced on February 14.

 BETRAYED by Lillian Duncan

BACK COVER:

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’sBetrayed_h11347_300 given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake.

BIO:

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net.  She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com  as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

Thanks so much for sharing with my readers. It was great to hear from you again. I pray God will continue to bless you and your writing.

 

A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant January 28, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:11 pm
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february bride

A February Bride

by

Betsy St. Amant

Description:

In A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant, history repeats itself when this bride runs out of the church on her wedding day—in the same dress that had been passed down for generations and worn by her mom, grandma and great-grandmother who also ran out of their weddings. The heroine struggles to break destructive cycles of the past. Can this bride shuck expectation and discover who SHE is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she finally walks down the aisle, what dress will she be wearing? Readers will enjoy this novel of redemption centered on a winter wedding.

My thoughts:

I love reading novella’s, especially good ones and this is a great one.

Betsy packed a powerful message in a limited amount of pages. She even had me crying. How many of us has been trapped in the lies of our past? I know I have. I could so relate to Allie and her brokenness. I couldn’t wait to see her set free.

Marcus just loves Allie and doesn’t understand why she ran out on their wedding. He wants to give her space but finds her in his path over and over again.

Marcus’s mother shows unconditional love to Allie and speaks life and truth over her.

This is beautiful story of love and redemption and I highly recommend it to you romance lovers out there.

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

Visit Betsy’s website here.

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

 

Review and Giveaway: With Autumn’s Return January 27, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:21 pm
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with autumn's return

With Autumn’s Return

by

Amanda Cabot

About the book (from the publishers website):

She’s planning on instant success. She didn’t plan on love.

When Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne to open her medical practice, she is confident that the future is as bright as the warm Wyoming sun. Certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, she soon discovers the town may not welcome a new physician–especially a lady doctor. Even Jason Nordling, the handsome young attorney next door, seems to disapprove of her chosen profession.

When a web of deceit among Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents threatens to catch Elizabeth and Jason in its snare, they must risk working together to save one of Elizabeth’s patients–even if it means falling in love.

My thoughts and giveaway:

This is the first book by Amanda that I have read and I REALLY liked it. Picking up her book was like meeting a new friend. Her writing drew me in instantly and I didn’t want to put the book down.

This is the third book in the Westward Winds series but Amanda does a great job of making you feel like you haven’t missed a thing. Although there are references to characters that are in the other books you don’t feel like you’re late to the party.

Elizabeth is a strong heroine who I liked immediately. She is strong in what she believes in and doesn’t compromise. She isn’t afraid to stand up to those who doubt her and she is one smart lady 🙂

Jason is a wonderful hero. At first he makes it hard to like him because he is hard on Elizabeth but as he softens towards her you will soften towards him. He desires to protect her and will do what it takes…..even fall in love.

I love that Elizabeth is willing to help those that others would deem unworthy. She shows the love of Christ to women who don’t often see it through other humans. That’s my heart’s cry as well.

At one point, at the end, Elizabeth (or maybe it was Jason, I can’t remember) sums up the events that lead to the moment she is in….it’s a total Genesis 5020 moment 🙂

Overall, a great historical romance that I highly recommend. I am now an Amanda Cabot fan!

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

Win a copy by leaving a comment by February 2nd at 5:00 PM to be entered in a drawing. (U.S. residents only)

Visit Amanda’s website here.

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

 

Review and Giveaway: For the Love of Pete January 23, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:44 am
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For the Love of Pete
B&H Books (January 15, 2014)
by
Debby Mayne

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debby Mayne is a best-selling author who has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Review, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, and live in Palm Harbor, Florida.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Widow Bethany Hanahan is trying in vain to fill an empty heart and an empty nest. The result is a home filled to the brim, but something is still missing. That’s when her new gardening club friends come to the rescue, encouraging her to let go of the past as well as the present clutter –emotional, spiritual, and physical. It’s not long before Bethany is finding friends, not bargains, to fill her days. But has her life become too full for someone like Pete Sprockett, a childhood friend, for whom her romantic feelings are beginning to bloom? Join the quirky, loving community of Bloomfield as they do what they do best – poke their well-meaning noses in and intervene in times of need –in author Debby Mayne’s second novel in what has become a five book series about a community where life is simple and love is real.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of For the Love of Pete, go HERE.

My thoughts and giveaway:

I was really excited to read this book because I enjoy Debby’s Class Reunion series so much. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. But let me tell you what I liked first.

This book is full of great characters. They are quite funny and very scheming. Pete is an extremely nice guy and Bethany is a strong, if not somewhat confused, heroine.

Bethany likes to fill her life with stuff. Who hasn’t been guilty of that at one time or another? We often believe if we get more stuff or hold onto our stuff we will be happy, fulfilled. God is the only One who can satisfy us, but it can take us a long time to figure it out (some of us longer than others).

What I didn’t like so much was that the book seemed a bit choppy. I felt like I didn’t see the flow of movement in each character. There was also a lot of info. dumping in the first chapter. I think that could have been showed throughout the book instead of told to the reader through internal monologue.

As always, these are my thoughts only and I am sure there are others who had no problem with this book.

Grab yourself a copy and form your own opinion if this sounds like a story you might connect with 🙂

Or leave a comment to win your own copy and see what your think about the book for yourself. Deadline to enter is January 30th, 5:00 pm. (U.S. residents only)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for an honest review.

 

Write to the Point with Valerie Comer January 22, 2014

Filed under: Author Interviews,Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:43 am
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Valerie-Comer-small-sqToday we get write to the point with Valerie Comer. I interviewed Valerie a while ago. you can read her interview here.

Valerie will be visiting us a few times this year, she is one busy writer. I had the privilege of reviewing one of her books, Raspberries and Vinegar. You can see my thoughts at the end of the post.

Valerie Comer’s fiction debuted as part of Rainbow’s End, a novella collection from Barbour, in May, 2012. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2007, finaled 3 times in the Genesis contest for unpublished writers before securing her first contract, and attended 4 ACFW conferences. Her first solo novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance (contemporary romance/ farm lit) released from Choose NOW Publishing in August, 2013.

She blogs weekly at valeriecomer.com/blog, where food meets faith and farm lit. She’s active on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Valerie owns To Write a Story where she offers a free writing course via email and blogs once a week. The website and blog at Inspy Romance is her brainchild as a place for a group of Christian contemporary romance authors to create a community of readers. She’s a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers, blogging there regularly. Valerie writes a monthly column “On Being Green” for NicoleOdell.com and another on simple living at Not Quite Amish Living. She’s an occasional nonfiction contributor to the ezine Vision: A Resource for Writers, as well as a member at Forward Motion, an online writing community of over 4000 active members, where she taught numerous workshops and classes during her years as a moderator.

Valerie and her husband of over 30 years live on a small farm in Canada with assorted cows, chickens, pigs, and bees. They grow much of their own food and preserve vast quantities by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. Valerie is also webmaster for her local food action coalition.

When not writing novels of contemporary inspirational romance and farm lit grounded in the local foods movement or volunteering at local food initiatives, Valerie enjoys Toastmasters and is active in her creation-care-centric church. She cherishes time spent enjoying the outdoors with her husband, their adult children, and adorable granddaughters.

About Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm rasperberrieswith their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Read the first chapter:

Josephine Shaw gritted her teeth as she jerked the harvest gold range forward on worn linoleum. There it was again. That incessant scratching could only be from one source. Mice. Of course the old trailer would have the despicable creatures. It had been vacant for how long? The beam of her flashlight found half a dozen naked newborns sheltered in a nest of insulation and wood chips. A full-grown rodent shot through the gap she’d created and scuttled right over her foot. Jo gasped, nearly dropping the light as she jerked back.

Her roommate, Sierra Riehl, shrieked and danced some kind of fierce jig designed, Jo presumed, to fend off an attacking two-inch-high army.

“Whoa! You’re going to go right through.” A distinct possibility, given the spongy feel to the old trailer’s floor.

Sierra’s gaze tried to capture every inch of space at once, but at least her feet slowed their tempo. “Th-the mouse…”

Jo tried to get her own heart rate under control. “Long gone.” At least, Jo would be if she were in his shoes. If mice wore shoes. Which they didn’t.

“Are you sure?”

What was she, some kind of fortuneteller? Oh, wait. There was still the nest, and somebody would have to deal with it. Didn’t look like Sierra was up for the job. Never mind, Jo could do this herself. “Um. You might not want to look.”

Sierra dug purple manicured fingernails into Jo’s arm, her blue eyes wide. “Why? What’s back there?”

“You don’t want to know.” Jo steered her friend into the empty living room, clad in musty shag carpet. “Just look out the window for a minute. Admire the view. Dream about all the things we’re going to do here at Green Acres. Think about the new house.” She pointed across the snow-flattened yellow grass to the building site. “Right over there.” Pouring the foundation couldn’t come fast enough. Even spending one night in this disgusting, moldy trailer would be more than ample. Bad enough without the mice, but with them? (Read More. . .)

My review:

First of all, I have always thought this cover was cute, even before I read the book. But now, after reading the book and getting to know Jo and Zachary, the cover is absolutely perfect.

Valerie is an excellent writer. She puts us right into the characters minds and feelings. She has created a great cast in this book that will leave you wanting to get to know the other characters better.

Jo is one spunky girl. She is passionate about health and I totally respect that. I think there is a misconception that you have to be a hippie or something if you embrace the health food way of life. That’s just not true. Many Christians are choosing to live green so I think Valerie’s book is right on point.

Zachary is strong hero but totally doesn’t get this healthy way of life. He also just wants to get out of small town life and live in the big city.

So what happens when these two fall for each other? By the way, Valerie did a great job with the first kiss. Completely unexpected, loved it!

Well, you’ll just have to read the book to see how these two find their way to each other and love.

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

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