Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore August 23, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:43 pm
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About:

From her first breath of fresh air beyond the pit, it has never been enough for Beth Moore to be free.

This best-selling author and Bible teacher who has opened the riches of Scripture to millions longs for you to be free as well–to know the Love and Presence that are better than life and the power of God’s Word that defies all darkness.

Beth’s journey out of the pit has been heart-rending. But from this and the poetic expressions of Psalm 40 has come the reward: a new song for her soul, given by her Saviour and offered to you in Get Out of That Pit–friend to friend.

My thoughts:

This is an older book but I never read it and this is new edition, I believe.

I have never read a book by Beth Moore but I have done some of her studies and loved them. Her books still carry her unique tone, I found myself chuckling throughout the book with her entertaining stories.

This is a very powerful book. We have all been in a pit and maybe even different ones, ones we have been thrown into by abuse or someone else, ones we jumped right into, I have been in both.

Beth even references Genesis 5020 in her book, love that!

I also appreciate that she has prayers you can pray at the end of the book to help get you out of that pit. Overall, a very powerful book that I think all of us could us.

Visit Beth here.

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

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

 

Review and Giveaway: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason August 21, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:51 pm
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About:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.

My thoughts and giveaway:

I have loved this series and couldn’t wait to read this book. It did not disappoint. And this is one book that I was totally unprepared for who the “bad-guy” was. I didn’t see that one coming and normally by the end I have a good idea.

The romance was also nicely done in this book. It wasn’t forced but very slowly built throughout.

The theme of forgiveness is huge and something we all have had to deal with in some way in our lives. Haley and Steven both have to take a step toward forgiveness and it’s not easy.

Overall, this was a great book that I couldn’t read fast enough. Can’t wait for Lynette’s next series.

Visit Lynette here.

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

Leave a comment by August 28th for your chance to win a copy. One winner will be chosen by random.org. (U.S. addresses only. I will not replace books lost or damaged in the mail.)

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

 

 

Review and Giveaway: Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman August 17, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:30 pm
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To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

      Click to purchase

Book title: Out of Darkness

Author: Erynn Newman

Release date: May 18, 2017

Genre: Romantic suspense

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life–until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.

As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew–his best friend and CIA partner–he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.

Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.

Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still her husband, and she’s determined to build something new and leave her relationship with Gabe in the past, if her heart will get the memo.

When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives–one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.

 

Gabe

 

About the Author

Erynn Newman is a pastor’s kid, raised in churches all over the Eastern Seaboard. Since earning her degree in Christian Studies, she has traveled the world and served as a missionary, a counselor, an ESL teacher, and a nanny. Though she has never worked with the CIA, her DVR contains a veritable Who’s Who of international spies. She is a Carolina girl, a wife, and Mama to a very busy little boy, two cats, and a gaggle of characters that live inside her head.

 

20 Facts About Out of Darkness

  1. I write novels while the rest of the house sleeps. That’s also when I do most of my editing work and social media stalking. During the day, I get to hang out with an awesome 4-year-old who is the reason I get up in the morning (both because he’s my heart and because he’s staring into my soul asking me to make pancakes).
  2. I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.
  3. It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I thought that everyone made up imaginary people and back stories for them and imagined the lives they lived and sometimes talked to them in traffic. Turns out no. Fortunately other writers found me and helped me figure it out.
  4. My greatest nemeses are also my greatest inspirations. Facebook and Netflix. Finding the balance of hanging out with other writers and readers and being inspired by great story telling and actually doing the work is the hardest thing for me.
  5. I am obsessed with casting characters. Finding the perfect actor/actress or model who embodies my characters is one of my favorite parts of the process. I also do this for every single book I read.
  6. So, of course now you want to know who I chose for Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe. I’m glad you asked.
    • Drew is based on Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Bryce Larkin in the show Chuck (there are quite a few nods to this show hidden throughout Out of Darkness).
    • Elisabeth is partially based on a character from a show I watched when I was in college (also a waitress and artist), but she looks like this model.
    • Gabe is based not that loosely on (young) Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS.
  7. Our house has a really great office with a nice desk and comfortable chair that looks out on our wooded back yard. But I work almost exclusively while sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the back of it. My uniform is yoga pants and an old t-shirt. The author life is G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.
  8. I got my start writing fan fiction. Most of it has been obliterated from the interwebs, but there may still be a few Star Wars stories floating around out there (I owe this to my love for Ewan MacGregor and my hatred of Annakin Skywalker). Fan fiction is also the way I found my very first critique group. And our leader, Susan Kaye Quinn, best-selling author and real life rocket scientist, helped me realize I could be a real author. And later she taught me how to publish. I want to be her when I grow up.
  9. Speaking of fan fiction, the original idea for Out of Darkness was a fan fiction based on that character from that show I talked about above. The waitress/artist who lost her first love and then fell for someone else. And then when her love returned, he was… recast. And terrible. And she forgot who she was and made every wrong decision. And everyone was miserable ever after.
    And I was like, what even IS this show?!?! So I started writing my version of how it should have gone.
    But then a surprising thing happened. My characters took on lives of their own, and I fell in love with ALL of them, and I knew I had to tell their story. So I started creating a different back story for them (and I introduced them to Jesus), and then they became their own characters and started telling me what to do. And I’m a little insane now, but I’m not even mad because I love what this story has turned into (and turned ME into).
  10. I started writing Out of Darkness in its earliest form in 2006. I stopped and restarted several times. I wrote other things that may or may not ever see the light of day. I learned that I was writing all wrong, and I ripped it apart, started over and stitched it back together piece by piece. In fact, my original chapter one is now chapter FOURTEEN. And all of that is after the first fifty pages that now comprise First Lightthe prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.
  11. Of all the exotic locations mentioned in Out of Darkness: Venice, Italy; Paris, France; Cordoba, Spain; Trim, Ireland; and even Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, I have been to two—Baltimore and Paris.
    Google Maps Street View and Wikipedia are an author’s best friends.
  12. Music inspires me to write, but I can’t write to music. I often hear a song that makes me think of a scene or helps me get the emotion right. And I add those to my play list, but when I write, I prefer quiet (or instrumental music).
  13. I want the Gospel to be front and center in every story I write (including my own), but there were two scenes in particular that I really felt like the Holy Spirit guided me in writing. One is when Drew finds his Bible in the backpack Gabe packed for them, and the other is Gabe’s argument with God when he decides to let Elisabeth go. In both instances, I feel like God really led me to the right Scriptures and gave me the words in a way I didn’t experience with any other scenes.
  14. The hardest scenes were all of the ones with Drew and the gas. Both because I don’t like to torture my characters (contrary to what you may believe) and because the science behind the weapon is way above my head. I worked with a couple of microbiologists to get it at least to plausible/possible, but I’m sure there are still some issues with my science there.
  15. I cried several times while writing this book. Elisabeth and I grieve much the same way, so I saw a lot of myself in her moments crying out to God—especially in the ones where she just wanted to feel Him and couldn’t. I cried when Drew fell apart reading his Bible, and I cried at the end when I wasn’t sure who would live or die.
  16. Gabe was the biggest surprise of the writing process. He was supposed to be out of the picture after chapter sixteen. He was just supposed to be a supporting character in the first half of the book, but at every turn he was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me, “there’s so much more to my story.”
  17. A few scenes didn’t make it into the final book. Two of them are in the outtakes section of my website, but don’t read those until after you’ve read the book. Seriously.
  18. After being told by one agent that Out of Darkness would never sell because it didn’t fit neatly into a genre category, I signed with my current agent in 2012, and we submitted it to several publishers. I received lots of compliments on my writing, but ultimately, people didn’t seem to like the fact that both of my leading men were good guys, and there was no one to root against. One even suggested that I make Gabe complicit in Drew’s abduction. And one suggested I kill Drew (again!) so Elisabeth and Gabe could end up together. Both interesting ideas, but neither were the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to indie publish, which has been really challenging, but I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. We all got the ending we were supposed to have.
  19. Speaking of endings, the one in the final version is very different from the original. I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but let’s just say that the original ending was far less happy, but I felt like it was the only way out. One of my characters made a choice that I couldn’t see any way around. And I thought that a happy ending would be too fake. I didn’t want to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow and say “they all lived happily ever after,” because after everything they’d been through, that wouldn’t be real life. But a very good friend of mine convinced me that I could instead tie everything up with a frayed knot. It’s still messy and difficult and a little raw, but I think it’s real… and full of hope and possibility.
  20. So what’s next, you ask? There’s more to explore here perhaps, but I honestly don’t know what comes next for these characters. That’s something I’m still thinking about.
    The story I’m working on right now also begins in D.C. but takes place mostly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of an ex Army Ranger who has to protect his three little brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder. And there may also be a girl involved.

Blog Stops

August 17: A Baker’s Perspective

August17: Genesis 5020

August18: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 18: Reading Is My SuperPower

August 19: Fiction Aficionado

August 19:Inklings and notions

August 20: Reflections from my Bookshelves

August 20: Blossoms and Blessings

August 21: History, Mystery & Faith

August 21: Blogging With Carol

August 22: Faithfully Bookish

August 22: Mommynificent

August 23: Just the Write Escape

August 23: Moments Dipped in Ink

August 24: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

August 24: 100 pages per hour

August 25: Carpe Diem

August 25: Christian Bookaholic

August 26: J.E. Grace Bog

August 26: Karen Sue Hadley

August 27: God’s Little Bookworm

August 27: Back Porch Reads

August 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 28: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 28: Daysong Reflections

August 29: The Fizzy Pop Collection

August 29: The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate

August 29: Remembrancy

August 30: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 30: Henry Happens

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erynn is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Out of Darkness, a signed copy of First Light, The Joy Eternal~A Sweet and Bitter Providence CD, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Cookies.!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/beac

My thoughts:

Wow, what a great read. I really enjoyed this book. First Light is a short novella you can read before reading this one and is nice to lay some ground work but you could jump right into the Out of Darkness without any issues if you don’t read the novella.

Erynn did such a fabulous job of dealing with Elisabeth’s pain. She didn’t gloss over her grief, she brought it to life for us. She also didn’t rush the romance between Gabe and Elisabeth which made it more realistic to believe it could happen.

But then what? What tough decisions these characters faced. I felt to sad for Drew knowing what he was going through and knowing Elisabeth was moving on, but you couldn’t be angry with her because she didn’t know.

I also appreciate how Erynn wove in the faith aspect, it was nicely done without being forced or preachy.

Overall a very good read and I would definitely read something by Erynn again.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon ($1.99)  or your favorite retailer.

Notice the giveaway is not on my blog, follow the link above under the giveaway section. But you can earn nine extra entries if you leave a comment and then follow that link. 

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

 

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall August 15, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:43 pm
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About:

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

My thoughts:

This series has been a journey. So many of the characters have undergone major changes, things that will never be the same again.

Ariana is by far my favorite character, although Quill is a close second. Ariana broke my heart with not knowing really where she belonged anymore. I’ll be honest I wanted her to leave the Amish community. It just seemed so stifling, too many rules. But something seemed really amiss in her community and she sensed it too. That added a bit of mystery to this book.

Skylar was a bit harder to like but I could see the goodness in her, there was hope for her.

This was a wonderful ending to the series. You could read this as a stand-alone but honestly because of all the history and everything that has happened I believe it’s important to read the first two books to fully grasp all that is taking place in this one.

Visit Cindy here.

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

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

 

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson August 10, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:47 pm
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About:

She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant.

But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . .

if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson beautifully re-imagines The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm into a medieval tale of adventure, loss, and love.

My thoughts:

I have really enjoyed this series of fairy tales come to life.

Magdalen gets a bum deal when her servant takes her place. But she does handle it with grace and her true colors shine through, which is compassion for others.

The Duke of Wolfburg also has the same thing (sort of) happen to him. He is determined to prove who he is but they must be careful because the man now in charge is ruthless.

Melanie did a great job of even allowing us to feel some pity for those that stole their position.

I expected to love this book more since I really liked the others but for me this one was okay. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I found it easy to put down and not in much of a hurry to pick it back up. It was good, just not what I expected.

Visit Melanie here.

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

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

 

The Essential Guide to Prayer by Dutch Sheets August 9, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:26 pm
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About:

Life-Changing Teaching on the Simplicity of Having a Powerful Prayer Life

A prayer life with God isn’t complex, but sometimes not knowing how to start can be enough to make a person turn away altogether. In The Essential Guide to Prayer, you’ll discover that the starting point is to find your motivation for prayer in the power of love by forming a solid relationship with God as Father and friend. As Dutch Sheets lays the foundation for your motivation to pray, he challenges you to reflect with “Did You Understand?” questions at the end of each chapter. Dig deeper into the core of your prayer life by learning to pray effectively both alone and in groups, and by persisting in prayer until you see God’s answers.

Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized author, teacher, and speaker. Based in Colorado, he travels extensively, empowering believers for passionate prayer and societal transformation. He has pastored, taught, and served on the board of directors of numerous organizations. Learn more at http://www.dutchsheets.org.

My thoughts:

What a powerful book. This book truly stirred my heart and empowered me.

I think sometimes when it comes prayer we can become confused and not even sure what to pray about at the time, or who. At least for me that happens. This book talks about being sensitive to the promptings you might get from the Holy Spirit, even if the prompting wakes you up in the middle of the night.

Sometimes I feel bad because I am not one of those people who can go up to someone and just say, “Hey, can I pray for you?” or, “Jesus loves you.” But maybe that isn’t for everyone. Maybe instead of approaching someone in the grocery store I just pray for them. I see that mom struggling with her kids I and intercede for her right there but don’t say anything out loud. Now, there is a time and place for approaching and I think we need to be sensitive if Jesus is telling you that you need to be vocal and approach someone. But let’s not discount the power of intercession.

If someone or something keeps coming to your mind maybe you need to be interceding for them and this book will empower you to do just that.

Visit Dutch here.

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

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

 

Review and Giveaway: Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl August 7, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:23 pm
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About:

Kate O’Brien’s quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she’s been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn’t the murderer, she’s subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate’s beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate’s safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

My thoughts and giveaway:

I can’t remember the last time I read a book so fast. I could have finished it in twenty-four hours but I needed to go to sleep.

I loved this book. One thing after another happens and just when you think it is over it isn’t. My mind kept trying to figure out what was going on. I was wrong on several things but one I had a feeling about the whole time but even that I didn’t get the motivation correct.

Kate’s story is heartbreaking, witnessing her sister being murdered. She really struggles to deal with this and it isn’t until she finally gives it to Jesus that true healing can begin. The way Nancy describes that process is beautiful.

Tony is a wonderful hero who just wants to protect Kate. There romance is very sweet and adds nicely to the story.

Overall, I highly recommend this one. I think it might be favorite Nancy Mehl book yet.

Visit Nancy here.

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

Leave a comment by August 14th for your chance to win a copy. One winner will be chosen by random.org. (U.S. addresses only. I will not replace books lost or damaged in the mail.)

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