Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Love’s a Stage by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay August 31, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 8:36 pm
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love's a stage


Grad student and future marriage counselor Aly Brewster had a perfect childhood with perfect parents. Now she’s heading into her own perfect life: Finish her Master’s. Build a successful practice. Husband at twenty-six. But when her parents blindside her with the news they’re getting divorced, her perfect world shatters.

Actor Nick Armstrong has been in love with Aly since they met during freshman year. He’s happy to accept his assigned place in her Friend Zone because it lets him be close to her. But it’s been over five years—time to move on. Then the usually-unflappable Aly comes to him begging for help to save her parents’ marriage. Nick has the perfect plan: fake an engagement to each other to inspire her parents to fight to save their marriage. And who knows? It might trigger Aly’s feelings for him. But when Aly takes the ruse to the next level—planning a wedding in her parents’ backyard and hiring additional actors to play his family—enough is enough!

As the lines between acting and reality grow decidedly blurred, these two improvised fiancés must decide: are they going to finish the play…or exit stage right. Alone.

My thoughts:

This was a quick read that impacted like I never expected.

Aly is kind of a control freak yet likable. She just wants her parents to fall in love again and uses her best guy-friend to do it. Sometimes she irritated me because she took Nick for granted and I didn’t like that.

Nick is an awesome guy who definitely has a soft spot for Aly. But I like how the author showed him being a guy that still could have some unwanted feelings when another girl gives him some attention.

This book even had me laughing. The scene that gave me the giggles reminded me of something my husband would do.

And at the end I cried. I didn’t expect it all but there where tears. The authors wrote this beautiful ending that touched my heart.

Overall I loved the message about marriage and the importance of keeping our vows and working even when it seems hopeless.

Visit Rene here.

Visit Cheryl here. 

Grab your copy at Amazon,  or your favorite retailer. (This book doesn’t release until October 22nd)

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


This Means War: A Strategic Prayer Journal (For Teens) August 27, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:37 pm
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this means war


You’ve got battles to fight—on your knees.

The teen years can be tough; don’t try to make it through without one of your most powerful weapons—prayer. A companion book to the movie War Room, this new kind of journal will get you ready for a new kind of prayer life, one that’s strong, growing, and reflects just how powerful prayer is. Each short chapter tackles one of the biggest questions teens have about prayer, questions such as:

Why pray, anyway?What should I pray for? Are selfish prayers okay?Who should I pray for? Am I really supposed to pray for my enemies too?Will God listen? And will He answer? Just-right journaling prompts will then get you thinking—and praying—and reinforce the real power of fighting battles on your knees.

My thoughts:

I love this book for teens. It takes a simple, straight forward approach to introducing them to prayer and asking them questions to get them thinking about why it’s hard to pray.

At one point the teen is asked to be quiet for fifteen minutes and pray and reflect on what that’s like. Not easy for a teen but I love that they are being pointed in that direction.

I can see this book having a HUGE impact on lives if the child will actually go through it slowly and take the time to write down answers to the questions in this book.

I will say I haven’t gotten my daughter to do it yet and I don’t believe forcing her is what God wants. So I’ll leave it with her and hopefully one day she will decide to pick it up. Maybe you could do the same thing for the teen in your life 🙂

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer. (Book releases Sept. 1st)

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


The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick August 25, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:10 pm
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the battle plan


Inspired by the Kendrick Brothers’ new movie, War Room, this exciting new resource from the #1 best-selling author team behind The Love Dare and The Resolution for Men is designed to help anyone learn how to become a powerful person of prayer. The Battle Plan for Prayer begins with prayer’s core purpose, its biblical design, and its impact throughout history. Readers will be guided scripturally through the fundamentals of how effective prayer works, inspired towards a closer, more intimate relationship with God, and shown how to develop specific prayer strategies for each area of life. Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. It should be your first plan of attack in all of life’s battles, not your last resort. If you want to experience the joy of mightily answered prayer, then it’s time to engage with God at another level.

My thoughts:

This is another resource to go along with the War Room. This one is for any adult, man or woman.

The book starts out basic and gradually moves into more specific prayers.

This book should be read over a thirty-five day period, just read one short chapter a day then apply what you have learned in prayer immediately and continue building on those truths as you move throughout the book.

I would recommend this book for anyone who is new in the faith, who needs guidance because they find themselves easily distracted in prayer, or anyone who has grown lukewarm in their faith or prayer life. This is a wake-up call to the need for prayer.

God is really showing me as I read through all of the War Room books the power of prayer and that we can’t give up, even when we don’t see anything changing, we must be persistent and this book will guide you in doing that.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer. (This book releases Sept. 1st)

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


Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund August 24, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:58 pm
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luther and katrina



She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

My thoughts:

I’m not even sure where to begin.

I am a fan of Jody’s, I love her historical romances. When I saw this book up for review I was a little surprised to see Jody’s name on it. This just didn’t seem like something she would write, a book about Marin Luther, the leader of the Reformation.

I also wondered how interesting you could make a love story about him? But I figured if anyone could do it, it would be Jody Hedlund. And I was right.

Wow. There is never a dull moment in this book. The interesting part is that a lot of the persecution written about actually took place. I couldn’t believe what these reformers had to endure and the fine line Martin had to walk between the peasants and princes. So much violence.

The thing is as I was reading this I thought I can see some of this coming back. If the Church stands by the Bible (as we should) we are and will face persecution in the days ahead.

The romance between Martin and Katharina was intense. They are both stubborn and passionate people. Once again, Jody depicted their love so well your heart will ache for them.

I will caution readers that some of the romance was intense and if that is a an area you need to be careful with then just be forewarned. Nothing in appropriate, I just know the areas I struggle with which is why I don’t read secular romance and many Christians won’t read Christian romance for the same reason.

But for me I loved this book. Jody is a master storyteller and created a very believable story world.

Visit Jody here. 

For more info. click here.

Click here for Jody’s bio.

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 publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


Prayer Works: Prayer Training and Strategy for Kids August 20, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:51 pm
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prayer works


What’s Your Strategy?

As kids grow, their prayer life needs to grow too—but how? Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick offer a strategy that kids can use to figure out how prayer works and just how powerful it is. Lots of great explanation is combined with fun activities, illustrations, and journaling prompts to get kids thinking and praying.

This companion book to the movie War Room contains 32 perforated journal pages kids can use to write specific prayers and then post them on the walls in their prayer room—just like the characters in the movie. Topics include:

What is prayer?

Why should I pray?

Where do I pray?

Is there a wrong way to pray?

What should I pray for?

Does God really hear me?

My thoughts:

This is another book brought to you by the creators of the War Room. This is for your older elementary prayer warrior.

My son and I are working our way through this book. It’s a great guide for parents who are wanting to get their kids praying but aren’t sure how to introduce it in a way that will grab their attention. My kids pray before meals and I pray with them before they go to bed but this book is really a great guide for talking about the different ways you can pray, why and when.

This book begins with a what a relationship with Jesus is and how to have that. If you child hasn’t asked Jesus into their heart now might be the time. Then the book progresses with questions kids might have, like does God really hear me? Will God answer my prayers?

Finally, in the back of the book your child can write out suggested scriptures in their own words (I love that) and then different prayer requests.

Overall, I recommend this book for 8-11 year-olds…a great resource.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer. (Book doesn’t release until Sept. 1st)

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



Too Blessed To Be Stressed Cookbook by Debora M. Coty August 19, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:11 pm
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too blessed



Feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily demands? Could you use some encouragement and inspiration in the kitchen? The Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook to the rescue! Each of the 100-plus recipes can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, plus you’ll encounter some fabulous tips and suggestions as well as funny foodie quotes, scripture selections, humorous stories of cooking misadventures, and more, along the way. Recipes are arranged into 4 categories–Heart-Healthy, Soul-Fed, Time-Wise, and Company-Happy–and are accompanied by appealing full-color photographs. You’ll cheer as you soak up the joy Debora M. Coty brings into your life and home!

My thoughts:

I really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes so I was excited to see this book up for review.

The beginning of the school year is extremely busy for my family, between my husband coaching, me helping with the school play and my kids involved in their sports we are always coming and going. Finding time to cook is difficult.

This book is full of recipes that you can make quickly, without tons of prep or ingredients. I haven’t had the chance to try any yet since we are on vacation a lot during the summer, but I have a majority of them highlighted and can’t wait to try them during our busy season.

Not only are there great recipes to try but fun stories along the way of kitchen mishaps. Above all there are scriptures sprinkled throughout as well.

If you are looking for some quick recipes to try I recommend this book as a go-to source.

Visit Debora here.

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

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



Not by Sight by Kate Breslin August 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:58 pm
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not by sight


Downton Abbey meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in Kate Breslin’s wonderful historical novel set amidst the drama of England’s World War I home front.”–award-winning author Elizabeth Camden

In the spring of 1917, all of Britain’s attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country’s cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.


My thoughts:

I read Kate’s debut novel last year, For Such A Time and it still ranks up there with one of my all time favorite books I’ve ever read, which is saying a lot because I read A LOT. So when I saw her second novel release I couldn’t wait to read it.

This one is very different but so good. Kate has a way of crafting a novel that is beautiful.

It wasn’t what I was expecting, the tone of this book isn’t as dark as the first and had more of the tone of most books I read, but I enjoyed it very much and couldn’t wait to get back to the characters.

Grace lives up to her name. She is truly grace to those she comes in contact with, she touches her friends lives and encourages them to be all God created them to be. She see’s beyond the wounds of people into their heart. This should be the person each of us strives to be.

Jack is a stubborn man yet likable. His wounds are very visible yet he continually rejects the One who can fully heal Him. His wounds have changed him, now if only he can use that change for good.

This had almost a Beauty and the Beast feel to it, you’ll know what I mean as you read the book.

I also loved the faith theme found throughout the book that ties into the title of the book. Faith is something we all need to work on because it is something we can’t see but we must believe.

Overall, a wonderful read that I highly recommend.

Visit Kate 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 publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


True Worshipers by Bob Kauflin August 13, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:00 pm
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true worshipers


Worship matters. It’s a time for God’s people to speak directly to him, declaring his praises and reminding each other of his grace. While worship is more than just singing, the times when God’s people come together to sing with one voice are biblically based, historically rooted, and powerfully sanctifying experiences. In True Worshipers, an experienced songwriter and worship pastor guides readers toward a more engaging, transformative, and biblically faithful encounter with God during times of congregational worship. Through practical guidance and faithful Bible teaching, this book connects Sunday worship to the rest of our lives—helping us live as true worshipers each and every day.

My thoughts:

As a worship leader I’m always interested in books that deal with worship. But even more so as someone who worships the living God I am interested in how I can deepen my worship to Him.

This book is for any worshiper…that’s you. We all worship something or someone as the book says “we never begin worship, we aim it.” I love that quote.

I highlighted a lot in this book and won’t share everything but there are a lot of nuggets of truth.

Here are a few things that caught my attention:

“Performance is often valued over participation, and technology over truth.” There is nothing I love more than hearing the congregation lift their voices. I love pulling away from the microphone and listening to our voices joined in unity.

“Every church or individual who claims to be Spirit-led must be Word-fed.”

“God never intended us to exalt him on Sunday morning with other Christians and remain quiet about him the rest of the week.” Can I get an amen? Good stuff right there.

Oh, I have to share one more: “There are no normal Sundays. Just fresh opportunities to behold the glory of the Lord as we’re “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18)”

There were a few times I glazed over and found my mind wandering. And there are a few things the author says that I don’t necessarily agree with. But overall I enjoyed this book and think if you are looking for more meaning in your worship you will find it here.

Visit Bob 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 publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 


Write to the Point with Caryl McAdoo (Part 4) August 12, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:39 pm
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carylToday we get write to the point with Caryl McAdoo. She has been on here a few times before. You can click here to see her other posts and find links to connect with her. Today she is sharing about writing Biblical Fiction. Enjoy!

Biblical Fiction – Truth & Imagination Merge

I’ve always had a love hate with Biblical fiction. My first exposure was as a child with such classic as Ten Commandments, Exodus, and Ben Hur, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Daddy took me and a girlfriend to El Chico and to see the The Greatest Story Ever Told for my fifteenth birthday! My introduction to reading the genre came much later, but I fell in love with the way fictional stories brought the familiar characters to life.

The first book I wrote for publication was in the ’80s IN THE BEGINNING, a 380 page hand-written manuscript I paid to be transcribed so I could submit it to New York publishers. (Now think of that ’64 Terry Stafford song ‘Suspicion’, to that tune:) Rejection! Woe filled my mailbox! Rejection! Kept us apart! Rejection! Why don’t you leave me alone! Sorry, everything reminds me of a song. Point is, no one brought sacks of money to my door.

The Lord led me to a writers’ workshop where I learned right off I’d made every conceivable mistake a new writer could, so I studied, read, and paid close attention to my mentors and learned my craft.

I loved writing Christian fiction for my historical Texas Romance and contemporary Red River Romance series, but didn’t get back to Biblical fiction until 2014 when I went back to rework A Little Lower Than the Angels written roughly off the first 80 pages of that original handwritten, multi-rejected manuscript.

During the ’90s and ’00s (my 40s and 50s), I came to know God’s Word much more intimately. I suddenly realized every little wrong jot and tittle in the movies. I’d anticipated all the new Bible-based movies. But I HATE it when the writers, producers, and/or directors change God’s story! If they want to create Biblical fiction, do they really think mortal man can improve what The Creator wrote?

A reviewer gave Then the Deluge Comes a one-star rating because ‘the author [I] totally left out how Noah preached to the multitudes while they mocked him…and the people clamoring trying to get into the ark.’ But that isn’t scriptural, it’s Hollywood. And she’s taken it as “Truth” not because she read it, but because she saw it. It’s so important for movies to be accurate.

By its genre’s very name, The Generations series is presented as untrue, not real—the definition of fiction is a story concocted purely from a writer’s imagination. On the other hand, Biblical—from the Bible—indicates Truth and nothing but the Truth! Every Word in the Bible is true. So no question about that; absolutely set in stone far as I’m concerned.

Jesus is the Truth. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.

Jesus is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1; and again, And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13.

So Biblical Fiction is an untrue, imagined story based on absolute truth. We could assume a writer of Christian Fiction is a Christ follower, so why don’t they all adhere perfectly to the facts? I mean facts are the facts, after all.

Personally, I get very frustrated with writers of Biblical Fiction who stray from the truth of the Word. Fiction gives them the right through imagination to flesh out the story, bring characters we know so well to life, but why do they need to rewrite the story? Change truth, you only have a lie.

I present The Generations series labeled Biblical Fiction, praying imagination enhances the Word’s stories and searching for clues to flesh-out the facts. I include a section called ‘Search the Scriptures’ in every book to show where I got some of my clues. I purposely examine the Word to find a new perspective.

In Mark, 7th chapter, in red letters: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! …Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down…” I now consider all those Sunday School stories taught as a child to be suspect. They are nothing more than traditions of men. Some  may be spot on, others—like three wise men traveling to the manger—are not true according to the Word, yet we believe them.

I invite you, should you perceive by the Word that any part of any of my stories are contrary to God’s Holy Book, to let me know where and how. I stand ready to alter my opinion any time it is shown not to line up to the Word.


  • 01FrontCov low-resVolume One A Little Lower Than the Angels follows Adam and Eve in Adam’s Valley, Cain after he kills his brother and flees to Nod, and Abel in Paradise with a wise old cherub as a teacher and companion.

5-Star Review: “Well done, good and faithful servant of God, Caryl McAdoo: my first thought after reading A Little Lower Than The Angels. This Biblical Fiction fleshes out the creation stories we all know so well and brings God’s beloved first couple and their sons to life. A Little Lower than the Angels does not take away from the truth of the Scripture, or add to them (as it is Biblical Fiction), yet it fills in blanks with what could be a possibility.

Like Caryl’s other works, A little Lower than the Angels is very well written. What this book did for me: Revelations of what could be stirred my soul. My heart soared from its reminders of how the Father loves us, and I raised my heart in praise to The Creator. It refreshes my knowledge and love of Scripture and of angels, too. The only other book that has done that for me on such a level is the Holy Bible, and like the Holy Bible, this small book is one that you will want to pick up again and again. I especially appreciated the end of the book, Search the Scriptures, where Caryl lists a few of the Biblical clues (from the King James Version) that guided her work of fiction.                –Holly Michael, Author of Crooked Lines and others, Kansas City, Missouri


  • Volume Two Then the Deluge Comes begins with Adam and Eve’s deaths and the first couple’s reunion in 000Front Cover2 Paradise with Abel. It continues through to the 8th Generation of Noah and his sons, ending the day it starts raining for the first time on earth.

5-Star Review: Then The Deluge Comes by Caryl McAdoo is beautifully written. This novel concentrates on the story of Noah, leading up to the flood. She takes nothing away from the biblical story, but enhances it. The characters are fully developed, becoming more three dimensional than in the Bible.

As with book one, not only does the reader see the earthly version of the story, but there are glimpses of the heavenly one too. This helps to remind the reader that all of life is a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness. One must always be ready and wearing the full armour of God.

Then The Deluge Comes can actually help to understand the original Bible story. Parts of the Old Testament that can be confusing, are made much clearer. There is so much beauty in Caryl McAdoo’s retelling of the traditional story that the reader just revels in the language. It will leave you feeling calm and peaceful, and you will be glad that you picked it up.                                –Julia Wilson, teacher and reader, United Kingdom


  • 001 FRONT ReplenishVolume Three Replenish the Earth opens right where Volume Two leaves off. God closes the door and the eight souls are lifted from the surface of the earth by the fountains of the deep and forty days and nights of rain. Spend the year aboard the ark with them, working alongside them as they tackle daily chores. Feel their elation when it’s finally time to leave the ark.

5-Star Review: Caryl McAdoo has retold the familiar Genesis flood account with clarity and sensitivity. While remaining faithful to the King James Version, the human story beneath the print page comes alive drawing the reader into the pathos and joys of real breathing people faced with the most devastating natural disaster ever known in human history, one which survives in the mythology of every culture and race, but which is most fully and literally told in the pages of the Bible. This reviewer loved this segment of The Generations Series and heartily recommends the whole work.

–Cass Wessel, multi-published author of devotionals

Thanks so much for sharing with us again, Caryl. Can’t to see what you are to next month 🙂



Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place by Stephan Kendrick and Alex Kendrick August 11, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:13 pm
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Can you help Peter find the perfect place to pray?

Peter is used to seeing his mom pray in her special prayer room, and now you can help him search for his own place to pray—Peter’s perfect prayer place. Is it under his bed? Up in his treehouse? Between the pots and pans? Where can God hear him best? There’s lots of fun as Peter looks and looks, but in the end, he learns that although it’s great to have a special place to be alone with God and pray, God hears you no matter where you are—under, up, or in between!

This companion book to the movie War Room will teach young readers an important lesson about talking to God. And the fold-out prayer chart and stickers in the back of the book will let them track their prayers as well as God’s answers!

My thoughts:

This is a sweet book for your youngest little prayer warrior. The rhyming cadence of the prose makes this a catchy, fun read.

This book gives a good lesson that although you can draw away and pray you can also pray anywhere and anyway you want. The greatest thing is that our kids have the desire to prayer.

There was a little surprise at the end for the kids (or you) to write down things they are praying for on a big poster they could hang up in their room. And what child doesn’t love stickers? This book includes stickers your child can use to mark off when they prayer.

I love the idea of this book. My son, who is nine, felt it was a bit young for him but he thought it was nice. So I would recommend this book for preschool and early elementary age children.

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 in exchange for an honest review.