Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: Fire Woman by Joanna Sanders January 8, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:38 pm
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About the Book

Book: Fire Women
Author: Joanna Sanders
Genre: Non-fiction
Release Date: October, 2019

Combining biblical instruction and discipleship, Fire Women is a testimony to the powerful benefits of submitting even the most intense desires to the authority of Jesus Christ. It’s an intimate view of a woman with almost-untamable passion and the God who delivered her to live the passionate life she truly desired.
Having been married twice, Joanna candidly reveals a stark contrast between her two marriages, as well as the impact of her choices through three decades of being burned—and nearly destroyed—by the desire of the flesh. In hopes to inspire passionate women to godly living, Joanna shares practical applications from the difficult lessons learned within an intense five-year refining period between marriages and an honest account of a landscape laid ruin by a life of sin. Written from the perspective of one fiery woman to another, readers will hear of the worth of living God’s way, the importance of dying to self, the true measure of passion in God’s eyes, and that not all flame is bad . . .

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author


Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s the founder and head writer of, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. She loves helping other authors realize God’s purpose through their stories and reflecting His glory back through their words. It has been her lifelong dream to finally write her own story. Joanna writes and edits for several Christian publications and publishers and has a heart for women’s ministry.
Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly-men-in-training. Cookies, pasta, music, and the beach also play integral roles in her life.

More from Joanna

My parents named me after a song about a woman who consumed her lover in such a way that even long after she had left him, he continued to find glory in the short, but intense way she had loved him. It was like my parents knew I would love with a fierceness that could not be contained, that would subject me—and those around me—to a thousand deaths by my own hand. They knew before I was born. This has been a long journey.
I spent many years trying to figure out my intense passion, wrestling with it, even trying to extinguish it by choking out its oxygen. I didn’t realize there was indeed a healthy place for it. In fact, I felt like each time I looked around this world, I could only see that there was no place for it where it wouldn’t set flame to those around it as well.
I hadn’t viewed my intense passion so much as a gift before, especially since it got me in more and more trouble as I followed it. But now I see it as a gift. My passion is what has driven me to finish this book and, God willing, hopefully inspire you with my testimony. My passion is what gives me endurance and drive to persevere, to finish well in all areas of my walk, and to meet Him at the finish line.
If you are a passionate woman like me, join me in the journey. I can’t wait to show you how I learned, and Who I learned was able to handle my passion. The same road is waiting for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 3
janicesbookreviews, January 4
Inklings and notions, January 5
Artistic Nobody, January 6 (Author Interview)
Through the Lens of Scripture, January 7
Genesis 5020, January 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9
For the Love of Literature, January 10 (Author Interview)
Just the Write Escape, January 11
For Him and My Family, January 12
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 13
Christian Bookshelf Reviews, January 14 (Author Interview)
CarpeDiem, January 15
Emily Yager, January 16



To celebrate her tour, Joanna is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon Gift Card and signed copy of Fire Women!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My thoughts:

This book was much different then I thought it would be based on the description. This book is all about sexual purity. Somehow I didn’t pick up on that when I requested to review it. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read.

Honestly, this is a book all single women should read. Instead of just telling our kids, “Don’t have pre-martial sex because the Bible tells us so,” we can engage in a real conversation after reading this book about what is does the the body, heart and soul. How do you overcome those desires that are God-given and very natural?

Joanne does a great job telling her personal story, and it’s personal all right, but that is what hooked me; hearing her heart and her struggles even after making her commitment to stay pure.

I would recommend moms reading this so you can have a honest conversation about sex and the importance of waiting until marriage. It gave me a lot more to work with than, “Just don’t do it.”

Grab your copy at Amazon, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 




The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:56 am
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After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn’t satisfied with Bow Street’s efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect–a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee’s murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man’s death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended . . . this.

When a second person dies and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn’t know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

My thoughts:

This is the Julie Klassen style I really enjoy. A strong sense of mystery makes this book a romantic suspense more than just a historical romance.

Something strange was definitely going on.  Questions about the dreams Isabelle had and something connected to the orange wine what was made on the island had a strong thread throughout.

There were many suspicious characters that will have you guessing at who killed Uncle Percy.  I felt I had a good idea in the beginning but that seemed too obvious so I had to keep reading to see if I was right or not.

Overall a very good read, I have missed this type of book from Julie.

Visit Julie here.

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

A copy of this book was given to me through All opinions are my own. 


Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright January 7, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:50 am
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After Aggie Dunkirk’s career is unceremoniously ended by her own mistakes, she finds herself traveling to Wisconsin, where her grandmother, Mumsie, lives alone in her vintage, though very outdated, home. Aggie didn’t plan for how eccentric Mumsie has become, obsessing over an old, unsolved crime scene–even going so far as to re-create it in a dollhouse.

Mystery seems to follow Aggie when she finds work as a secretary helping to restore the flooded historical part of the town’s cemetery. Forced to work with a puzzling yet attractive archaeologist, she exhumes the past’s secrets and unwittingly uncovers a crime that some will go to any length to keep hidden–even if that means silencing Aggie.

In 1946, Imogene Grayson works in a beauty salon but has her sights set on Hollywood. But coming home to discover her younger sister’s body in the attic changes everything. Unfamiliar with the burgeoning world of forensic science and, as a woman, not particularly welcomed into the investigation, Imogene is nonetheless determined to stay involved. As her sister’s case grows cold, Imogene vows to find justice . . . no matter the cost.

My thoughts:

I love anything written by Jaime Jo Wright. I have thoroughly enjoyed each book I have read by her (all of her releases except one).

Her stories are unique but if you are sensitive to “spookier” stories then this might not be for you. There are strange things happening in Mill Creek and although they might seem supernatural all comes to light and there are natural reasons for what is going on.

Jaime had me guessing until the end about what happened to Hazel, I bounced back and forth trying to figure out who had killed her and even when I figured it out there were still a few more layers to uncover.

A lot of truth in this book. One quote I highlighted from the book (location 5263), spoken by Mumsie, “You go ahead and let the grief consume you, because then it will heal you, free you, and the good Lord can move into its place and show you promise. Promises that there is so much more life to live. So many more people to love. And the footprints of those who’ve gone before you? They’ll still be there. Memories to warm you when you’re old.”

Visit Jaime here.

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

A copy of this book was given to me through All opinions are my own. 


Safe and Sound by David Powlison January 3, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:49 pm



Greensboro, NC—“You are in a battle. I am in a battle. And every person we counsel is—like us—living in a fog of war, stalked by a deadly predator, and facing a master of deception. When our hearts deceive us and our culture misleads us, Satan’s desires and purposes are at work,” writes David Powlison in Safe & Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles (New Growth Press/September 16, 2019), the last book he wrote before his passing on June 7, 2019.

A beloved counselor and best-selling author, Powlison guides readers to see the normality of their struggles with themselves, the world around them, and the powers of darkness. Counselors tend to be interested in what they can easily describe: psychological dynamics, social influences, and physiological givens. But how does the uncanny power of darkness fit in with the more accessible factors in a person’s life?

Safe and Sound leads readers through an exploration of Ephesians in which Paul emphasized Satan’s work in the world through schemes and lies and gave direction on how to stand up against those lies. By carefully unpacking Ephesians 6 with vivid case studies and biblical wisdom, Powlison helps humanize those struggles and bear the relevance of the love of God in Christ for those struggles.

Powlison addresses many questions with gospel answers regarding the reality of spiritual warfare, including “What is spiritual warfare?” and “How does Ephesians disciple us in spiritual warfare?” While spiritual warfare may often conjure up images of demons and scary effects, Scripture treats spiritual warfare as an everyday part of Christian life, and we should do the same. The author explains that it is how we think, feel, live, desire and act in the presence of our enemies. While Christians are often confused about what role Satan actually does play in the world and in our lives, God’s Word gives clarity and direction.

“If you’re like me, it can be hard to tell in the day-to-day that we are in this war. As with any spiritual reality, it’s easy to forget when you can’t see it with your own eyes,” Powlison shared. “I wrote this book because I want us to be awake and alert to the real battles we face. These are dark days, and this is a book about how to stand up to the powers of darkness—for yourself, for your loved ones, for those you counsel.”

Safe and Sound presents Ephesians as a book about our conflict with darkness—within ourselves, with other people, and with the spiritual forces of evil. Powlison demonstrates how the message of Christ’s triumph over all that is evil, dark, and deadly rings true, and how spiritual warfare is our participation in the Lord’s cosmic war with darkness.

“I worked with David for thirty-eight years, so I acknowledge I am biased toward everything he wrote, but this is David at his best: pastoral, connecting dots between Ephesians and Satan’s present strategies, opening his own life to us, and opening our eyes to the light of Jesus Christ,” shares Edward T. Welch, fellow CCEF faculty member and counselor and author of A Small Book for the Anxious Heart. “More than a book, this is a gift.”

My thoughts:

This book is full of good content and I enjoyed the focused look at Ephesians 6. The author does a good job of keeping a balanced look at not overly focusing on the enemy’s work but also we can’t ignore that he is a work around us.

This was a book I had trouble staying focused with, my mind often wandered. But it was full of good information. As I have said in the past I am particular about non-fiction books and this was one that my mind couldn’t seem to focus on. However, I think other people will enjoy this.

It is geared toward counseling people, but honestly, shouldn’t all Christians be in the business of helping others who need it, whether we are licensed or not? Anyone can benefit from reading this book.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or our favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me. All opinions are my own. 


Review and Giveaway: Focused Backstory by Carol Alwood January 1, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:35 pm
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About the Book

Book: Focused Backstory
Author: Carol Alwood
Genre: Non-fiction, writing resource
Release Date: June 26, 2019

Learn how to write characters readers will love.
Has an industry professional told you not to dump character history at the beginning of your story? If so, you aren’t alone. But what’s the solution to this common advice? Most writers take the time to design interesting characters with troubled pasts. They long for readers to care about the characters’ lives. However, the sad truth is on page one, readers don’t care—yet. That’s why industry gurus tell writers to stop overusing character history, also called backstory, at the beginning of stories. Have you ever wondered… How to use backstory correctly? What are the ways other writers successfully incorporate backstory into their work? Do tools exist to help writers better plan stories so the backstory isn’t such a problem? In Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys, you’ll find answers to these questions and more. You’ll learn how to avoid the dreaded info-dump and instead, harness curiosity so readers keep turning pages. This resource breaks down focused backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story no matter what genre or length. Worksheets, tables, questionnaires, and templates will help you plan an engaging story with deep characters. Examples from popular stories will help you understand this method.
You’ll learn how to
• design a character around a troubled past.
• create additional characters around the main character.
• weave interesting sub-plots within a characters’ journey toward healing.
• design proper obstacles which interfere with characters’ goals.
• guide readers’ emotions so they have a satisfying reading experience.
No matter what kind of writer you are, if you take the time to analyze the use of backstory, it will enhance your style. Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys is the missing gadget in your writing tool kit.
Click here to get your copy.

About the Author


Carol Alwood has an unending passion for fiction, and she can’t think of a better way to spend her life than writing books for young adults and teaching about techniques she has learned along the way. With a Master of Education, experience as a content editor, and over a decade of establishing and working with critique groups, she is an excellent resource. An award-winning author, Carol finds joy in helping writers find the right tools to plan, draft and revise their novels so they can achieve excellence in storytelling.

More from Carol

Focused Backstory resulted from a personal quest to please industry critics who suggested I keep character history out of the first pages of my novels. My initial questions to this advice were: What? Why? I searched for resources to figure out how to write a more powerful beginning without relying on the past but found little help. On a mission to find answers, I studied popular books, television and movies to abstract what made stories work and — boom! I found it! We can break down backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story without compromising artistry. This book provides definitions, examples, worksheets, templates, and comics to help writers study the art of using powerful character histories to keep readers turning pages. I’m so excited to offer this resource and hope it will empower your writing as it has mine.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28
Holly Jo Morris, December 28
janicesbookreviews, December 29
CarpeDiem, December 29
Jacquelyn Lynn, December 29
For the Love of Literature, December 30
Mary Hake, December 30
Blogging With Carol, December 31
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 31
Genesis 5020, January 1
April Hayman, Author, January 1
Pause for Tales, January 1
Through the Fire Blogs, January 2
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, January 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 3
Emily Yager, January 3
Remembrancy, January 4
Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 4
A Reader’s Brain, January 5
Spoken from the Heart, January 5
Sara Jane Jacobs, January 5
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 6
Godly Book Reviews, January 6
Blossoms and Blessings, January 7
With a Joyful Noise, January 7
Inklings and notions, January 8
Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, January 8
A Diva’s Heart, January 8
Artistic Nobody, January 9
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9
Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 9
Texas Book-aholic, January 10
Stories By Gina, January 10




To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My thoughts:

If you are a writer or want to be, this book will get your creativity flowing. I really need to be reading more books on the craft because, honestly, I haven’t worked on anything in a very long time. Reading something like this forces me to start thinking about my characters and gets me excited to get back at it.

This is a really great resource for anyone who is in the writing craft, wants to be or just starting out. There are tons of charts and worksheets to go through. This will definitely be a book I keep on hand and refer to with each book I write (when I write them).  See, I’m being positive!

If you struggle with how to work in backstory (which is really the backbone of most books) this is a must read.

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

A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own..