Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse July 31, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:12 pm
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Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from World War II a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle from St. Augustine, Florida, all the way to Key West. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined–namely, the key to his unknowable father, a longed-for reunion, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

My thoughts:

This is a beautiful coming of age story.

Peyton, honestly, seemed a bit too mature for a fifteen year old (I know many) but that made him more likeable. If we could all be more like Peyton we would all be better for it. He easily gave to others without thought for himself.

I didn’t love this story, because there were a lot of big coincidences that seemed pretty far-fetched but never the less it was a sweet story with a good message. I even had to hold back some tears at the end.

Visit Valerie here.

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

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


Review and Giveaway: Irish Encounter by Hope Toler Dougherty July 30, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:54 pm
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About the Book

Book:  Irish Encounter

Author: Hope Toler Dougherty

Genre:  Sweet, inspirational romance

Release Date: May 7, 2015

Irish-Encounter-FC-194x300After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.


After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again.


Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?


Click here to get your copy!



About the Author

Hope-Dougherty-1-300x277Hope holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Forever Music is her fourth novel. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.





More from Hope

Inspiration Behind Irish Encounter

A few years ago, I was staring at the first day of the rest of my life. My oldest daughter was set to graduate high school in less than a month. Two years later, her sister would march right behind her, followed in two years by their twin brothers.

Life as I’d known it for the preceding eighteen years was about to change enormously.

Throughout my tenure as a stay-with-my-children mom, I’d written for publications—sporadically—but I had a portfolio of articles with my byline in print.

That May afternoon, I decided to write something for Guideposts, a magazine filled with inspirational, faith-filled stories. I’d just completed “The Life of Moses” with Bible Study Fellowship, and I envisioned sharing wisdom and insight gleaned from thirty two weeks of study.

I penned What I learned from Moses on the top line of a yellow legal pad. As soon as I wrote this fascinating title, I immediately began daydreaming—about Ireland, not Moses.

In my daydream, a woman in an Irish café scribbled in a journal. A little old man in a tweed vest approached her, introduced himself, and began talking about his late wife.  I saw the wooden buttons on his vest and the Irish cap clutched in his hands.  Suddenly another man, dressed in dusty safari clothes, appeared to the woman’s left, lounging at his table and eavesdropping on their conversation.

This scene interested me infinitely more than the Moses idea. I turned the page to a fresh sheet and wrote everything I saw and heard in that Irish coffee shop.

Irish Encounter began that day. I didn’t know it yet, but God did. I just hurried back every morning to my desk to see what happened next. Before writing, I’d recite Bible verses from the Moses study, like Exodus 3:12 “And God said, ‘I will be with you’” and Exodus 4:12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (NIV)

I’d pray for guidance and help, and then I’d travel to Galway.

God led me onto this writing journey with a lot of prodding and pulling and nudges toward those interesting characters. I’m thankful every day He did, and I hope readers will enjoy the trip to Ireland with Ellen and Payne, too!

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Inklings and notions, July 29

deb’s Book Review, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 30

Genesis 5020, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 31

The Collaborative Press, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, August 1

Godly Book Reviews, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 2

Older & Smarter?, August 3

Writing from the Heart Land, August 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 4

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 5

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 5

Betti Mace, August 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 6

Locks, Hooks And Books , August 7

Maureen’s Musings, August 7

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 8

Pause for Tales, August 8

Just the Write Escape, August 9

Read Review Rejoice, August 9

Emily Yager, August 10

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 10


To celebrate her tour Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!

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

My thoughts:

I read another book by Hope and loved it so I was eager to read this one.

Obviously, the setting was beautiful and I loved Payne’s indifference that you could tell really wasn’t indifferent.

Hope did a good job of depicting Olivia’s (Ellen’s daughter) reaction to her mother spending time with another man and the ups and downs of that.

I did feel like that first kiss happened awfully fast, although, I think that was the point, it took everyone by surprise, but I wasn’t really feeling it yet. However, the following kisses really did help develop the budding relationship.

I appreciated Ellen’s faith and her complete reliance on God and that was shown throughout the book.

Overall, a nice read and I enjoyed the story.

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. 


Review and Giveaway: Fierce Wholeness by Robin Meade July 29, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:33 pm
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About the Book

Book:  Fierce Wholeness

Author: Robin Meade

Genre:  Nonfiction

Release Date: March 5, 2020


When the Bible talks about the third- and fourth-generational curse, that’s so true. If the curse is not broken by you, then who will stop it dead in its tracks? Dealing with forgotten pain, things you stuff down just to survive, is serious business. But that’s what Robin Meade did. Growing up, she was criticized, put down, and stomped on—by her own family. She chose to bury her pain.

Fierce Wholeness: Finding Myself after Childhood Emotional Trauma is Robin’s story—in all of its raw and messy but authentic and beautiful transparency as she unpacks the trajectory of her life from childhood to adulthood and seeks to repair the dam that had been busted, the riverbed that had been washed away, the landscape that had been obliterated by her family of origin.

Readers who grew up in the clutches of the branches of emotional abuse will be empowered by Robin’s story because of the freedom that Jesus gives. Robin’s story is raw and authentic, and readers will be encouraged by how they too can find fierce wholeness in Christ.


Click here to get your copy!




About the  Author


Robin Meade grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but now she walks with God in the beautiful suburbs of Chicago. For nearly five years she has led and taught as part of the women’s ministry team at New Life Brookfield Church. She loves her dog and great food, but mostly she loves Jesus, and strives to encourage people to experience God’s restorative healing and for God to be glorified through it.




More from Robin

There’s a level of ‘fierce’ that we all need to reach in our journey with Christ; to be real about the journey.  When you experience abuse as a child, there is a ‘normal’ way of perceiving your surroundings that’s set, and if not corrected, stays with you into adulthood.  My desire for this book is that people who have suffered childhood emotional abuse know they are not alone, that they can experience of healing through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Bible talks about being ready to give an account and running the race striving for first place and working out our salvation with fear and trembling – some of that has been lost in our Christian culture.  Jesus isn’t a wimp or a doormat because he is kind and forgiving and neither should we be.  I hope my story will be a blessing to many in their faith walk, to get to their level of ‘fierce’.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 3

My Devotional Thoughts, August 4 (Author Interview)

Genesis 5020, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 6

Blossoms and Blessings, August 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, August 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 8

For Him and My Family, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Author Interview)

Artistic Nobody, August 11  (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 12

For the Love of Literature, August 13 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, August 14

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 15

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 16 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away the grand prize package of a basket with a signed copy of the book, the Fierce Wholeness Companion Journal, and $10 gift cards to Joann’s, Starbucks, Amazon and a stuffed moose!!

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

My thoughts:

I enjoyed reading about Robin’s testimony and the realness of it. It wasn’t a quick fix, Jesus didn’t fix everything immediately. Although,  I know that can happen but I don’t think that is the norm. Often there is a maturity we need to go through and I think that happened with Robin. She knew Jesus but she wasn’t letting him have complete control of her life right away.

I did take issue with something she said on page 64: “I knew there had to be more to walking with God than salvation.” Yikes, isn’t that enough? I mean if we really understood that work of the cross that should be enough. I admit, I use to think the same thing, but I see the error in my thinking and I think a lot of Christians can fall into this trap. Salvation is all we need anything else is just icing on the cake.

Overall, it is a story of hope and God leading a child back into his arms and that is what really matters.

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 the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 


The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey July 28, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:29 pm
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They know the power and peril of the ocean.
But as they get closer to the deadly truth . . .
An even greater danger lurks just beneath the surface.

When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker, Coast Guard Investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are flown to the scene thirty-eight miles from shore. Tensions aboard the rig are high, and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the “plague on the environment” from continuing its work. Meanwhile, rumors are circulating on board about an ancient curse lurking in the depths below.

Mounting evidence shows the death might not have been an accident. Was the man killed by one of the activists or, more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only numerous suspects, but also their own haunted pasts and their attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems about to break open, worse news arrives: a tropical storm has turned their way. Now they’re cut off from any rescue–right where the killer wants them.

My thoughts:

This is the second book in this series and I have to say I liked the first one but I liked this one even more. I think because I am getting a grasp on Dani’s writing style and I know the characters better.

That is one thing Dani does an excellent job doing, laying the ground work for future main characters in previous books. I knew Rissi had a very broken background and Mason was there for her so it was nice to get a better understanding of her story.

The suspense was also well done, never sure what was going on and who was behind the violence, she had me guessing.

If you like romantic suspense you might want to give this one a try.

Visit Dani 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 Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 


Review and Giveaway: The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez by Buck Storm July 23, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:35 pm
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Literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can’t go on–so he doesn’t. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel’s ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis’s ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.

Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town–and his good friend Gomez Gomez–and Father Jake can’t just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

Read an excerpt from Kregel by clicking here.

About the Author:

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found mail (1)friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The LightTruck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.

Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.

Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at He can also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor)Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and Instagram (@buckstorm).


Enter giveaway here

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more in the series. Buck has created a cast of characters that are sure to engage any reader, no matter man or woman.

The tension between Jake and Honey was so interesting and I kept wondering who they, if they, could move past it.

Gomez Gomez pulls at the heart and it like so many of us that struggle to move forward after we have been hurt in some way. I even enjoyed the snarky snake he talked to.

If you like a fun read with deep underlying truths this is a book for you.

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

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


Shifting Shadows by Herman Mendoza July 22, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:27 pm


Herman Mendoza built his kingdom in Queens, New York. He made a fortune selling cocaine with his brothers up and down the Eastern Seaboard. He had apartments around the city for his mistresses and a home in the Poconos for his beautiful nuclear family. But when Herman and his brothers were busted in a large-scale crackdown, his kingdom crumbled. Ready to kill himself rather than live behind bars, Herman instead came face-to-face with the all-consuming love of God. He would never be the same.

Today, Herman shares his story at every opportunity, knowing that it may play a part in someone else’s journey into a relationship with Jesus. An engaging and fast-paced read, Shifting Shadows offers hope to those in despair, and shows all of us the lengths to which God will go to bring a troubled soul home.

My thoughts:

This reads more like a novel and a good one at that.

I appreciated Herman’s openness and honesty as he shared his journey. He was lost, no desire for God and only saw one way to deal with life and make money.

What makes a book like this so interesting is the hope you have as you read it. You know he turns his life around and runs to Jesus but the journey to the cross is long and heartbreaking. I can imagine the pain his wife went through and again as we read we know they are still married, which is pretty amazing considering all he put her through.

This is a Genesis 5020 at it’s core.

Visit Herman 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 by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner July 21, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:14 pm
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Rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

My thoughts:

Susie knows how to write a beautiful story. Her books are so unique. The time period isn’t one most authors write in, the 1960s. The other things I love about her books is that they are set in Michigan. Her last series was set in my hometown. This one I had never heard of the town and didn’t find it so I am thinking it is fictional but based on a small town in Michigan. But the surrounding areas, Detroit, Lansing and Jackson are all very real.

The heartache that Betty has walked through, yet she never let it bring her down. She saw her sister as a fighter, but she is as well. The Sweet family is one I would love to spend time with. What a blessing that Betty got to be part of that family.

Hugo pulled at my heart and made me want to cry. I can only imagine what a small child would go through when you have a mother who is unstable.

Overall, Susie has knocked another one out of the park.

Visit Susie 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 Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 



Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes July 20, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 7:36 pm
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In an aged brick cottage in London, the magic of the past comes alive each night for the family of a humble watchmaker. In her father’s fireside stories, Lucy Claremont’s fascination with the high seas begins, leading her to devote her life’s work to discovering the whereabouts of a legendary lost ship. But when tragedy strikes, it’s childhood friend Dashel and his knowledge of the stars that may help her solve the puzzle.

Two hundred years earlier, three young lives are altered forever when a shepherd rescues the privileged son of a powerful admiral. As the children grow, war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, deep love, and a story of betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption that fades into obscurity as centuries pass.

As Lucy and Dash explore mysterious ruins on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

My thoughts: 

This is the first book I have read by Amanda, but I have heard wonderful things about her writing so I wanted to give it a read.

It took me quit a bit before I became fully invested in this book. But once I got hooked I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen and the mystery that Lucy and Dash would uncover.

Amanda definitely has a unique writing style. She paints beautiful pictures with her words and weaves together a unique story.

In all honesty, I’m not sure if I would read another book by her even though I did end up enjoying this one. I might, just to give it another try and to be fair and now knowing what to expect I might enjoy it even more.

Visit Amanda 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 Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 


A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund July 16, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:48 pm
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After Heartbreaking Loss,
a Marriage of Convenience Holds More Appeal than Ever Before.

There is nothing left to keep Zoe Hart in England. Unemployed and struggling with grief, she decides to leave her bleak life behind her and emigrate on a bride ship to British Columbia–the place her brother fled to when falsely accused of a drastic crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned native baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe–one of the newly arrived bride-ship women–to care for the orphan. When Abe is forced to choose between following the strict rules laid down by his bishop and listening to God’s nudges to care for his people, he is left at a crossroads.

Determined to find her brother and to give the baby a home, Zoe rashly accepts a marriage proposal from a man who promises both. But Abe knows the man’s unsavory reputation. Intent on protecting Zoe and wounded by his own failed engagement, Abe impulsively offers his own hand instead. They hastily marry, but both soon realize the marriage of convenience they imagined is not so convenient after all.

My thoughts:

Jody Hedlund continues to be one of my favorite historical romance authors. She can write a romance like no other. She is a master at building tension, or giving and taking in the relationship and always wraps up with a satisfying ending.

This story is wonderful. I just had to keep reading for many reasons, but one thread that kept pulling me was what happened between Abe and Wanda? Was it as bad as my mind was coming up with? I sure hoped now.

If you are a Jody fan you will be happy with this latest installment.

Visit Jody 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. All opinions are my own. 


Revival Rising by Kim Meeder July 15, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:36 pm



Ignite Your Heart with His Fire of Revival

Most of the world around us is dying without hope. Friends, co-workers and family members are struggling to find their way through the darkness of sin and suffering. But Jesus has not abandoned the souls He came to save; He wants you to make a difference! He is calling you to carry His life-giving love into places of brokenness and sorrow. Genuine revival happens when passion for God breaks through human restraint and ignites one heart after another with the flame of His love.

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Disclaimer: A few weeks ago I watched American Gospel on Netflix. This has, and continues, to change my faith and is bringing my focus back to the Word and the Gospel. Unfortunately, I signed up to review several books by authors I don’t necessarily agree with any longer. In fairness, I am still trying to read them for gold, but now I am seeing a lot of things I never would have saw before that I no longer agree with or I am questioning. I think it’s only fair that I tell you that and the bias I am coming from.  

My thoughts:

When I first started reading this book I thought I might agree with this author on most of her thoughts. I really enjoyed the beginning picture she paints and I really liked how each chapter started with a personal story from the author. Most of her stories involve some type of adventure that I would never dare to try but I enjoyed reading about. She tied these stories in beautifully with her message in that chapter.

Where I struggled is when the author said: p. 73 “Our focus should be riveted on what is so broken within our own faith that the flow of His presence is quenched by our unbelief.” She is referring to why miracles aren’t happening, why we aren’t seeing healings.

I lived there for many years and it made me angry at God. I felt entitled to miracles and healings because I was a believer and when those things didn’t happen I was mad. I believe I put so much emphasis on getting these gifts I lost sight of the giver of gifts. The greatest gift, and the only one I need, is the gift of forgiveness that was given to me through the power of Christ’s blood. My faith is broken? That’s a pretty bold statement and one I completely disagree with.

Later the author shared when she talked to a stranger and told him that Jesus loves him. I found the story interesting, and it is true, Jesus does love him. But how would the stranger every really know that without knowing what Jesus did to prove it? She never shared that with him. Yes, that is a tougher conversation then simply saying Jesus loves you but isn’t that what our faith is all about? Jesus died for you, that is how much he loves you,  you can repent and be forgiven.

As always, theses are my thoughts only. If it sounds like an interesting read to you give a try.

Visit Kim 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 by the publisher. All opinions are my own.