Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Sedahlia by Cynthia D. Toliver November 30, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 8:55 pm
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ABOUT THE BOOK (459 pages): After fleeing post-Civil War Georgia, John Masters, Sr., his wife Virginia Masters, and their rebellious servant Jessie Lindsey have built new lives in Texas ranch country. Now their offspring, Johnny Masters and Rachel Lindsey, are in love. On the isolated, sprawling Sedahlia ranch, their youthful dalliances are largely overlooked until Rachel becomes pregnant, forcing Rachel to leave Texas for a freedman’s school in Georgia. From the insulated Sedahlia ranch to the Jim Crow south, the rails both separate and unite – parting lovers, reuniting family, pushing out the old, bringing in the new. It is in these settings that the Masters and Lindseys live and love, and their personal needs and mores collide. The repercussions rumble through this family and the surrounding community, tearing them asunder and bringing them together as only love and tragedy will.


I am a 1980 graduate of Rice University and a native Texan. I have enjoyed a varied career as a chemical engineer, environmental consultant, educator and author.

Writing is something I’ve always done. I love the creative process, from beginning to end. As a writer I become invested in the characters and their stories. If I’ve crafted them well, my readers will do the same.

I also host a Christian blog, Back to Eden at

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and my website

My thoughts:

Wow. I not even sure what to say. This book is amazing. The story was unlike anything I have read in a very long time. It is a thick book, no doubt about it, but it is book that pulls you into the life of this family and won’t let go.

The trials faced by the characters in this book was heartbreaking and the scary part is these types of activities probably actually took place to someone simply because of the color of their skin.

I kept waiting for things to get better for the characters in this book and honestly  it looked like it might not ever get better. But there is hope in the end.

Now, as much as I loved this book I do need to caution readers, there is a lot of intimate moments in this book both pre-marital and marital. It isn’t overly graphic but it will paint a very vivid picture of what is going on and it happens several times. If things are easily awoken in you this might be a book to avoid. But if that doesn’t bother you and won’t lead you down a path you shouldn’t go then you should be fine.

Also, there isn’t an overflow spiritual stuff going on. I wish there was a bit more but there are some characters that have faith and try to bring that into other characters lives who are seeking and lost.

For me this book was amazing and I loved being brought into the lives of these characters.

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 through The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review. 


Happy Thanksgiving November 27, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:22 pm
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By Jose Murillo

By Jose Murillo

I know Thanksgiving was yesterday but I wanted to wish you all a happy one and encourage  you not to stop giving thanks just because today isn’t called a day of thanks. The Word of God tells us:

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

I need to cling to this during this season in my life where many things feel overwhelming but I know I am in God’s will. This new job continues to challenge me and I keep pressing in to Jesus.

There are days I think I was crazy to leave my easy job for this new one where I am still figuring out what I am doing. But God has this sweet way of giving me little glimpses that I am right where He wants me.

So I give thanks that He has given me this new job and I am immersed in His will.

What are you thankful for?


Skin in the Game by Rick Lawrence November 24, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:14 pm
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Explores the revolutionary idea that risk is a foundational requirement, not an optional step, of the true faith walk

 “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” —Matthew 10:39

Christians are longing for more life in their lives, a sense that they’re more present to Jesus and to their own story in the everyday. They’re looking for the answer to the deepest question of human experience: “How do I find the freedom I crave, and become the person I long to be?” Too often, though, they’re scared to risk too much to find the answer—so they simply continue to lead lives of “quiet desperation.”

Rick Lawrence says that’s exactly the problem. We’ve seen too much. We know too much. And so we manage our risk so well that we choke off the very fuel that our soul needs to stay alive. In fact, risk should be a primary aspect of our relationship with Jesus, not the thing we avoid.

In this book, Lawrence argues that if we pay attention to the way Jesus related to people, we discover that he asked every person he ever met to put their “skin in the game”—invest part of themselves. Only then did they find the life they always longed for.

Lawrence asks eight key questions, including: • Will you embrace your shame? • Will you receive grace? • Will you confront your fears? • Will you wait, even when all hope is lost?

With a vigorous, fast-paced, and conversational style, he uses these questions plus stories straight from Scripture and pop-culture corollaries to explore the kinds of risks we find in our lives today and how to stop waiting and start going all in for Jesus.


Rick is the longtime Executive Editor of GROUP Magazine ( and the co-leader of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference ( His latest books include Shrewd: Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus (2012,, and Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand (2011, He’s married to Beverly Rose and has a 13-year-old daughter named Lucy Rose and a 9-year-old daughter named Emma Grace.
You can follow Rick on Twitter @RickSkip, on Facebook at, or you can email him at, or you can drag a banner behind your biplane over Denver, Colorado with a special message for Rick.   

My thoughts:

This is a fabulous book. Each chapter takes a look at someone from the Bible and applies the lessons to our lives today, I loved that.

There are a lot of wonderful things in this book but I will only give you a taste of a couple and hope that will whet your appetite for more.

On page 54 the author writes, “God is far more interested in naming us then fixing us.” This goes back to identity which I personally believe is the root cause of so many of our issues. If we just understood who we really are we could walk in so much more confidence.

Another part that totally spoke to me at a very deep level was this paragraph from page 58: “The best way to pinpoint the identity-forming force of the voices that surround you is to study what’s going on in your soul after you’ve had a difficult or dissonance-producing or even uplifting encounter with someone. How is the echo from the encounter describing you?”

I could go on about how this resonated with me but I won’t in this review.

Overall, a wonderful read that will challenge you to risk more for Jesus.

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

A copy of this book was given to me through The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review. 


Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson November 23, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:14 pm
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every girl gets confused


Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie’s parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What’s a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

The breezy fun continues as Janice Thompson throws everyone’s favorite small-town girl into big-city bridal chaos–and makes her choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath.

My thoughts:

I love Janice’s writing, it’s so light and fun, yet packs a spiritual punch that will have you reflecting on your life as well.

I so enjoyed meeting up with Katie again and her crazy family. This books takes us a bit deeper into the things that can cause problems in any relationship, the past, differences of opinion, and seasons.

The was a resounding theme: seasons. We all go through different seasons and God wants to use those to grow us but it’s up to us how we react and Katie has to figure that out in this book.

Katie’s ex-boyfriend shows up in this book and makes things more confusing for her as her family pulls her in different directions as well.

Overall, Janice Thompson fans will not be disappointed with this newest release and if you are new to Janice I have no doubt you will find an author you will adore.

Visit Janice 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 through in exchange for an honest review. 


Surrender to Peace by Rose Allen McCauley November 19, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:59 pm
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ABOUT THE BOOK:  Joy Worth arrives in Puerto Rico on her honeymoon trip–without her ex-fiancé. On a tour, she meets Park Ranger Benigno Arroyo. On several more outings, he shows her the joy of living through the beauty of his beloved island. She begins to hear God’s voice again. Joy so loves the island she decides to stay. Benigno falls in love with Joy but realizes her pain is still fresh. Joy loves him but doubts her judgment. Can Benigno Cook earn her trust and love while helping her learn to hear God’s still, quiet voice again?


Hi! I am a Kentucky gal who loves to write stories set in small towns with huge hearts. I’m a child of God, a wife, mom, and Mimi who taught school for over 27 years and now enjoys writing, reading, scrapbooking and walking. I love hearing from readers on my website or blog.

My thoughts:

I loved the spiritual aspects of this book. How many of us have struggled to hear God’s voice, or maybe we even stopped trying because we didn’t like what He might have to say? Joy has found herself in that place but starts to find her way out in this lovely setting.

The author did a great job painting a picture of Puerto Rico. I could see it in my mind very clearly.

The romance between Joy and Ben seemed to happen fast, but it is a short book so it kind of has to. I maybe would’ve liked to see a slower build so it felt more authentic but overall it was very good.

There are many things to enjoy about this book. If you are looking for an escape this might be the next book you should pick up.

Visit Rose here.

Grab your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deeper Shopping or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to my though The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review.


Gospel Formed by J.A. Medders November 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:48 pm
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A call to Christians to be caught up in the powerful whirlwind that is the gospel of grace.

Christianity is based on the foundation of the good news of the gospel. Yet how many Christians truly find their identity there? How many are thriving in a community clinging to the gospel? How many forget about the wondrous glory of Jesus? J. A. Medders is on a mission to help Christians remember that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is also the power for our everyday life in Christ.

Yet living a gospel-centered life does not always come easily. The biblical meditations inGospel Formed help to kindle, or rekindle, the passion to live a grace-addicted, truth-filled, Jesus-exalting life by constantly driving the reader back to the power of the cross and the empty tomb. Funny, punchy, and theologically accessible, readers will be encouraged, challenged, and ultimately reoriented to the true North of Christianity―Christ Himself.



J. A. Medders is the lead pastor at Redeemer Church (Acts 29) in Tomball, Texas. He has written for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Church Leaders, and more. To read more from J.A. Medders, visit

My thoughts:

This book is a wake up to what we already know but the author gives you many new ways to think about the Gospel or be reminded about the Gospel

I love the energy you can hear in the writing, he is excited about Jesus, as we all should be.

By far my favorite chapter was “Worship is War.” I’m sure because I am a worship leader this chapter had a great impact on me. If I could read the whole chapter to my congregation I would. For now I will share a paragraph with you from p. 60-61:

“When you sing at your church, are you actually singing or just moseying along? If you stand on Sundays dull-eyed and dragging your vocal cords on the floor, then wake up to the realness of Christ, his blood, your enemy, and victory in Jesus. This is why I advocate for loud singing (Zeph. 3:14-15). War isn’t quiet. No soldier mumbles on the battlefield — and especially not at the victory party. Belt out the glory of Christ. And know that our Champion sings loudly over us (Zeph. 3:17)”

Love that and our churches need to hear that, be reminded of that.

If you liked that then you will love this book, it is full of powerfully stirring words that will remind you of the greatness of God.

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

A copy of this book was given to me through The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review. 



Review and Giveaway: Hand-Me-Down Princess by Carol Moncado November 16, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:17 pm
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hand Me Down Princess
CANDID Publications (August 31, 2015)
Carol Moncado


When she’s not writing about her imaginary friends, Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband, four kids, and a dog who weighs less than most hard cover books. She prefers watching NCIS to just about anything, except maybe watching Castle, or Girl Meets World with her kids. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not watching her kids – and the dog – race around her big backyard in Southwest Missouri, she’s teaching American Government at a local community college. She’s a founding member and President of MozArks ACFW, category coordinator for First Impressions, blogger at InspyRomance, and represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.


Prince Malachi Van Renssalaer of Mevendia is getting married. The problem? He’s never even met his bride. His father arranged everything, right down to the marriage contract. Malachi swears to himself that he will be nothing like his father in the ways that count – including his fidelity to his wife.

Jessabelle Keller would happily spend her entire life in obscurity, but her father once saved the life of a future king. Before he dies, her father is committed to seeing that king make good on his promise to have one of his sons marry her so she would be taken care of for life.

No sooner than Prince Malachi and Jessabelle return from their honeymoon, they find themselves dealing with both private trauma and the very public drama of groundless accusations from the press. Just as they begin to weave their fragile trust back together, a ghost from the king’s past arrives and threatens everything they’ve ever held dear.

Secrets have a funny way of coming out and this one could rip the faith of the country in their leaders to shreds. Malachi is determined to protect Jessabelle no matter what it takes, but will it ever be enough for her to not feel like a Hand-Me-Down Princess?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hand Me Down Princess, go HERE.

My thoughts and giveaway:

Wow. I totally adored this story. It reminded me a lot of some of Rachel Hauck’s princess stories.

The whole concept of this plot I found intriguing and was hooked from the beginning.

Malachi is wonderful and very patient. Honestly, I wondered when or if he would ever grow impatient with Jessabelle because I would have.

I felt bad for Jessabelle, but there were times I wanted to tell her to suck it up and make the best of her situation and embrace this wonderful man who is trying to help her. But she is shy person and that obviously has an effect on how she will handle everything that is taking place around her.

Also, you just knew something bad was going to happen to try to tear any trust away from these two and I cringed as I waited to see what would happen.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Carol did a wonderful job ending every chapter with a bit of a cliff-hanger, which you don’t often see in romance novels, but she made me want to keep reading late into the night. I highly recommend this one.

Visit Carol here. 

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by November 30th for your chance to win a copy. One winner will be chosen by (U.S. addresses only. I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail.)

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