Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

More: From Messes to Miracles by Tammie Head March 31, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:23 pm
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About:

From Messes to Miracles

People everywhere are looking for something more. Churched and non-churched alike. They’re in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and purposelessness.

Does this sound like you?

Perhaps you keep wishing your life were better than what you are currently experiencing now. What if more of God is actually what’s missing from your life? Do you encounter the freedom God brings each day? Whether it’s a messy life or a messy problem in your life, it can become a walking miracle when we see God anew and wholly surrender to Him.

You were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts ablaze. Tammie has seen this in her own life as well as in countless lives around her. Join her in More for a picture of how you can move from a life marked by messes to one that is truly miraculous.

My thoughts:

This book is full of truth that we need to grasp. If we did that would change everything. I do believe God has so much more for us and we tend to settle for what is in front of us. A huge mistake.

Tammie has a story of redemption that is amazing. I love hearing real life stories of Jesus just wrecking someone’s life in the best way possible.

On page 39 Tammie says something the made me stop and think. She is talking about Satan when she says “he”: ” Honestly, he is worshipped by people living less than what God’s Word says.”

Wow. That stopped me. How many times have I lived as less than God’s Word? How many times a day? More than I want to admit.

On the flip side I do have to say I struggled to track with Tammie in this book. I felt it jumped around a lot and I didn’t know what time in her life she was talking about or when things actually took place. That was a struggle for me. When it comes to timelines and people’s stories I like to understand them clearly and know the order in which everything happened. I felt it jumped from one point, to another, back to another. Because of that I was a bit distracted because I kept trying to make sense of her story.

Like I said, there are some great truths in this book and it might just have been me that struggled with the timeline thing. I would say this book is for someone just starting out in their faith and wanting to discover more, how to go deeper.

Visit Tammie here.

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

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

 

The Salt Covenants by Sylvia Bambola March 30, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:38 pm
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salt

About:

Spain 1493: Isable has broken her mother’s heart by becoming a sincere convert to Christianity. But when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she is forced to flee the Inquisition by entering into a loveless marriage and sailing with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. But all too soon Isabel is forced to struggle alone in her new life and new faith. With all the risks and hardships how is she to survive? And will she ever find love in this strange land? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?

My thoughts:

I love when I am pleasantly surprised by a book, when I begin a new book not exactly sure if I will like it and find myself drawn into the story.

That’s what happened with The Salt Covenants. This was such an interesting time in history and in a setting we often don’t think about when it comes to persecuting Jews. When I think about Jews being treated poorly I usually think about Germany and World War II, not Spain.

Sylvia definitely did her homework in writing this book. The characters are rich and well-developed. My heart broke so many times while reading this book as families were torn a part.

What I kept thinking about as I read was that Christians where the ones doing all this horrible stuff. People who are supposed to be modeling Christ to the world are killing and raping people who don’t believe like them.

I felt Isable’s struggle as she claimed this new faith yet saw what so many Christians were doing to her people. I wondered how she could continue to hold strong. It would be so easy to walk away and not believe. But she remained strong.

I really enjoyed this book and think if you like historical fiction set in unique places this is a book you will enjoy as well.

Visit Sylvia here.

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

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

 

Open Up the Heavens March 27, 2015

Filed under: Cool videos — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:30 pm
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gloryHappy Friday everyone!

I have a new song to share with you today. May our one desire be to see God’s glory.

Click here. Have a great weekend 🙂

 

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly March 26, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:23 pm
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the boy who loved rain

About:

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.

Colom had the perfect childhood, the much-loved only child of a church pastor. Yet he wakes screaming from dreams in which his sister is drowning and he can’t save her.

Fiona turns to her husband, desperate to help their son. But David will not acknowledge that help is needed—and certainly not help from beyond the church.

Then they find the suicide pledge.

Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees… but when will she acknowledge that the unnamed demons Colom faces might be of her and David’s own creation?

This beautifully written and searching novel by poet Gerard Kelly explores the toxicity of secrets, the nature of healing, and the ever-present power of rain.

My thoughts:

Each and every chapter of this book pulls you further and further into the darkness and mystery of this story.

At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book but as I continued to read I was pulled in and under. There are so many questions that are raised in this book and not answered for long time.

This author did so many brilliant things in this book to weave the story together. I can’t really tell you too much for fear of giving things away.

I did think it was ironic that the pastor in this book gives lectures on parenting yet his own child is falling a part. That often times seems the way of it, unfortunately.

I will caution you this book is loosely Christian. The publisher is Lion Fiction and I believe they are not a Christian publisher but have Christian authors writing for them.

Basically, it is a clean book but the “h” word is in there and some content might bother sensitive readers. But if you are looking for something different this might be a book you want to pick up and give a try. It is only $0.99 until the 27th.

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

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

 

Review and Giveaway: The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem March 23, 2015

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Tomb

Howard Books (March 17, 2015)

by

Stephanie Landsem

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.

My thoughts and giveaway:

This was a book that I started reading on a night I was very tired and thought I would fall asleep before I got too far into the book. And hour later I forced myself to stop reading even though my mind was fully stimulated by this story.

This is the first book I have read by Stephanie and I have to say I have found another Biblical fiction author I need to keep my eyes on.

What an interesting twist she gives to Martha. Not anything I would have ever imagined for her but Stephanie makes if very plausible.

I love how she combined several events from the Bible in this book. We have the whole situation when Jesus tells Martha that Mary is choosing the good thing. Then there is the man possessed by demons that Jesus casts out. Then we have the death of Lazarus.

Stephanie portrayed Jesus wonderfully. It was interesting to read about him in a fiction book, that doesn’t happen too often.

I could go into a lot more detail but then this review would be very long. Overall, this is a wonderful book that will give you some things to think about and possibly view Martha in a new way. I highly recommend this read.

Visit Stephanie here.

Grab your copy at your local book store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by April 1st for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only, I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.)

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

 

Simple Token March 20, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:37 pm
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By Jason Long

By Jason Long

During the summer I love to read outside while my kids play.  A few years ago (when my kids where younger) they would stop playing and run up to me with their grubby little hands and hand me a handful of droopy dandilions or any other “flower” they could find.

Although I knew they would die the next day my heart was touched. In their moment of play, they stopped and saw some flowers and thought “My mommy likes pretty things, I am going to pick these for her.”  They were treasures to me, even if only for a day.

Don’t you think our Heavenly Father feels the same way when we stop playing around for a minute and take the time to think of Him and offer up a simple token?

We hand it up to the heavens with our grubby little hands and He lovingly leans down and takes what we are giving and smiles.  His heart is touched.  He child thought of Him for that moment and loved Him.  They took time out of their play to honor Him.

What is simple token?

Is it forgiving someone you haven’t wanted to forgive, but you have sensed God telling you it’s time?

Is it showing love to someone who seems unlovable?

Is is reading His Word?

Is it getting up earlier to be with Him?

Whatever your simple tokens are know that He will gather them up in His arms and embrace them.  Your simple tokens will make His heart soar, He longs for them.

So grab your dandelions with your dirty hands, and reach them up to Heaven, your Father longs to take them from you.

Listen to the song that inspired this devotion here.

What tokens have your children given to you that you treasure?

 

Review and Giveaway: Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta March 19, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:30 pm
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price

About:

Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter—and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.

My thoughts:

I don’t buy many books anymore since I get most of them free for reviewing them. However, there are times when I miss the opportunity to review and book and there are some books that I absolutely must buy because I either love the author, or love the series. Such is the case with the last book in Jessica Dotta’s series. I bought this one because I had to see how this would end and I LOVED the first two books.

Jessica did not disappoint. This book wraps things up for Julia.

We are immediately thrown into Julie’s life with Edward and her worried thoughts about what Macy might do next. She truly has no rest from this man.

She also suffers constant rejection from others and she’s never able to forget that she is different than other people.

We readers will be on the edge of seats the whole time wondering when everything will fall into place and finally work out for our heroine.

One thing that might be nice for any readers who haven’t read the books yet is that you can read them all in a row. I did have trouble remembering things from previous books, because there is so much that happens. So I recommend reading them consecutively if you can.

This is also not a stand-alone book. I don’t think you can understand this book without reading the first two. As stated above, there is just too much that takes place.

I can’t wait to see what Jessica will come out with next 🙂

Visit Jessica here.

Leave a comment by March 30th for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only. I am not responsible for replacing books lost in the mail.)

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

 

 

Write to the Point with Erin Taylor Young March 18, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:44 am
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ErinTaylorYoungToday we get write to the point with Erin Taylor Young. For all you dog lovers you will definitely want to read through as she shares about her adventures with her dog, Henry.

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

Married for nearly 28 years, and mother of two wonderful sons, I’m a bit surprised to realize that I’ve been writing in one form or another for most of my life. It started in the third grade, when for some inexplicable reason, I wanted a guitar for Christmas. My parents obliged, and a songwriter was born. I grew up telling stories through three-minute serenades, although it should be noted that singing talent does not run in my family. And as it turns out, neither does melody writing. Which pretty much left me with words. Oh, the astounding revelation when it dawned on me that I could write words (always my favorite part of the song anyway) without music. Funny though, I never saw myself turning into a humor writer. I started out with a children’s allegorical fantasy. But God had other ideas. He gave me the most ridiculous and difficult dog in maybe the whole wide world, and I had to write about that. And then there were all my funny experiences as a semi-talented composer aspiring to get a masters of music degree. Somehow I have way more than my share of  “Oh, sure, it’s funny now” stories.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

Everybody has a different coming-to-Jesus story. Mine just happens to be a comedy with the very best of happy endings. I’m writing a memoir about it now, so I’ll give you the abridged version here. It involves me and a raging horde of turkeys. It also involves me getting caught in the middle of a Hare Krishna rant, an argument with strangers about the gender of God, and getting lured through Kum-Ba-Ya shindigs into a weird group of college students who shamelessly (and with frightening regularity) talked right out loud to Jesus. Those very dedicated InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students prayed constantly for me, tirelessly answered my endless questions, and lived as honest reflections God’s work in their lives. The same God who was there in my life all along drawing me to Himself. It was only a matter of time before I bowed to His sovereignty as Lord and Savior.

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

Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe is the true-life story about our rogue torpedo of a dog who broadsides our family with love. Think Marley & Me meets Erma Bombeck meets the Roadrunner. (Yes, really!) As you might surmise, Henry is a difficult dog. It might have something to do with his Supreme Dictator of the Universe Syndrome. But I think we all have relationships in our lives that aren’t ideal. My experiences with Henry—his endless trials, training, and half-baked suicide attempts—all proved how hard it can be to stick it out through that kind of tough relationship. To keep trying, keep hoping, keep working. But I also learned something amazing: It was worth it. Every bit of it. But for the unexpected reason why it’s worth it, you’ll have to read the book.  : )

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

My blog is called Humor on the Upside of Down, and I post once a month. We all know life has its rough spots. There’s something about laughing through those difficulties that encourages us to carry on, to grow, to heal. Here’s a link to the latest post: http://www.erintayloryoung.com/erins-blog/. It involves Godiva dark chocolate-covered cherries and prayer.

Henry-004AmazonResizeCan you share with us a favorite book you have read?

I’m a Jane Austen fan, and while I love the story of Pride and Prejudice—especially the BBC film version—my favorite book of hers to read is Mansfield Park. I love how Fannie Price sticks with her principles and how crucial good character is to her. In the end, it’s that trait that makes her a better and more true daughter to her Aunt and Uncle (who are raising her) than their birth daughters turn out to be.

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

Wow, that’s the subject of my whole Surviving Henry book. But I’ll tell you about one aspect of it. Because Henry required so much time and effort, I sometimes felt like I was cheating my boys out of time with them. Or I felt guilty because their dog experience was so difficult and, you know, nothing like Lassie. But when I see my boys’ relationship with Henry now, how much they adore each other, and how much Henry brings us all together, and how those hard times are bygones now, then I know that what was distressing and potentially harmful has become something beautiful.

That is wonderful. It’s amazing how God can use dogs to bring families together. I have seen the same thing in my own family.

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

Many! Memorizing Scripture is an important part of my life, so my favorite is usually the one I’m working on at any given time. But one of the most compelling verses for me is from Ezekiel 3:10-11 where God says to Ezekiel, “…let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.” I believe everyone has a story, whether they’re a writer or not. Their life is a story that matters in this world. It’s by letting God’s word sink deeply into our hearts that our story is shaped into a message to reflect God’s glory to the world around us.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website is www.erintayloryoung.com but folks can also find information about Surviving Henry, including a book trailer and other fun videos like Henry going down a playground slide, at www.survivinghenry.com. Also, I’m currently giving away a fun FREE ebook of Henry’s “World Tour” memes to folks who sign up for my newsletter. You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/RYuX1

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

I’d only like to add my thanks to you for inviting me to visit with you all!  : )

You are so welcome, Erin. Thank you for sharing with my readers and I pray God will continue to bless your journey in writing and with Henry:)

 

In Tune with Love by Amy Matayo March 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:29 pm
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in tune

About:

April is willing to do anything for her sister’s wedding—until she comes face to face with a guy from her past.

 

April Quinn is thrilled to be her sister’s maid of honor, until the wedding coordinator quits and the responsibilities get dumped on her. It’s April’s worst nightmare—especially since her sister has more objections and opinions than a lawyer presenting a high-profile court case. When the wedding singer walks out at the last-minute, her sister hires a replacement. When April finds out who the replacement is, she’s ready to call it quits as well.
Because there’s only one person in April’s past that she never wanted to see again, and her sister just handed him a front row seat to the wedding.
Jack Vaughn finally has the career he’s always wanted. After playing in bars and singing in weddings as a struggling musician for half a decade, he’s just released his second album and sales are skyrocketing. But while visiting his parent’s Nashville home the weekend before his first headline tour, he runs into an old friend. When she asks him for a last-minute favor, he can’t bring himself to say no. Even though saying yes means he has to come face to face with April Quinn—the girl who hasn’t spoken to him in years.

 

And rightly so, since he stole something from her that he’ll never be able to repay.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the overall storyline of this book. Amy accomplished a lot in a very minimal amount of time. We have the main story of Jack and April and also April’s sister getting ready for her wedding.

I loved that April loves to write music, as I enjoy doing that as well and will write lyrics down in random places.

Something I struggled with in this book was the Christian factor (or lack there of). Honestly, if I didn’t know it was Christian fiction I don’t think I would have thought these characters has much faith. It is stated that they both question things but they seem to call on God when it’s convenient. I was hoping to see a more spiritual growth piece with both main characters and I didn’t see that. I think that could have been played up a bit more.

But, with that being said, the story itself was very good and I enjoyed it.

Visit Amy here.

Grab your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, or your favorite retailer.

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

 

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman March 16, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:37 pm
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dauntless
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
by
Dina L. Sleiman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Where Legend and History Collide,

One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village–a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to reexamine everything he’s known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dauntless, go HERE.

My thoughts:

What an intriguing tale Dina has told in this book.

If you aren’t familiar with Dina’s writing you might want to be. I read her first book and loved it, Dance of the Dandelion. I haven’t had the chance to read anything else by her until now and I am very glad I picked up this book.

This is a young adult book, but as is usually the case, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Merry has taken on the role of leader with a band of children she rescued. Her heart is tender and kind toward them and she will do whatever it takes to protect them. She must make tough decisions as time progresses and hiding becomes harder.

Then she catches a glimpse of Timothy, the boy she thought she would marry one day. But now he is out to get her, but he doesn’t know it is her that he is hunting.

Of course to add even more tension to this story another boy has decided he would like Merry to fall in love with him.

If you are captivated by stories like Robin Hood (which is mentioned in this book) then you will adore this novel. It did take me a few chapters to get into it but once I was in I didn’t want to put the book down. Young and old alike will delight in this tale.

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

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