Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Groomed by Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good February 19, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:33 pm



Someone in your past sold you a false story about who you are and what you’re worth. It has been holding you back for too long. Take control of your future.
A staggering one out of three women in America was a victim of sexual abuse at some point in her childhood. No matter how many years it’s been, if that’s your story, those scars are probably still with you. But even if that’s not part of your story, this book is for you. Women today have been groomed for a lot more than just sex.
Using her own story of abuse, family tragedy, and rebellion, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher guides readers toward an understanding that grooming is oftentimes subtle, but it’s always life-altering. In Groomed Fisher incorporates the language and lessons gained over the past decade working with sex trafficking victims and her work in ministry and counseling before that. She draws out five specific ways that women have been groomed, from physical appearance to spirituality to finances, and shows how those manipulative messages have affected the way we see our worth and how they’ve oftentimes stifled and limited us. From there Fisher offers readers a way to overcome their past, starting with the all-important but rarely explored idea of a selah, or a time of rest and reflection, and exploring active ways to forgive and move forward to a new level of freedom.
No one has to be defined by her past. No one has to live for her groomers. It’s time to take a look back at where we came from to escape the messages of our past and take control of our future.

My thoughts:

As a sexual abuse survivor when I hear the word “groomed” I often think about it in those terms. Abusers groom their victims. But this book give a different bend to that word.

We can still think of the word in those terms but also in other ways. I was definitely groomed to please people, to look good on the outside no matter the turmoil going on inside of me.

We can be groomed for many different things, such as being invisible, pleasing others, looking good, being a leader, assertive.

I appreciate Elizabeth’s ministry and what she is doing to help women who have been trafficked. I also enjoyed Elizabeth’s openness and honestly in sharing her story, which at times was hard to read.

Have you been groomed? You might be surprised what you discover.

Visit Elizabeth 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. 


Review and Giveaway: Legion by Shadia Hrichi January 22, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:06 pm
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About the Book

Book: Legion
Author: Shadia Hrichi
Genre: Bible Study
Release Date: Oct 8, 2019
How far will Jesus go to rescue one lost soul?
Tormented, chained, and living in a graveyard, the man known only by the name of the demons that tormented him had no one to help him–no one to intercede for him. No one but Jesus. Climb into the boat with Jesus as He heads into enemy territory. Witness Jesus’s power and passion as He battles violent storms and armies of demons in order to rescue . . . one . . . lost . . . soul.
Through this six-week, action-packed Bible study, you will experience God’s relentless love as you celebrate the impassioned Savior Who moved heaven and earth to rescue you.

Click here for your copy!

About the Author

“SHADIA HRICHI is a passionate Bible teacher, author, and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She has received a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary as well as master’s in criminal justice from the State University of New York. In addition to LEGION, Shadia is the author of several Bible studies, including HAGAR and Worthy of Love. Shadia is often invited to speak at churches, conferences, and other events. Her insightful, witty, yet vulnerable teaching style reveals a compassion for the hurting, love for Jesus, and uncompromising commitment to the truth of God’s Word. Visit

More from Shadia

If there is one universal truth, it is that every human heart longs for paradise. A perfect world without death, pain, or sorrow. A world at peace, where each of us is secure, treasured, and loved. But the reality is that the world as we know it will never deliver; it cannot. Scripture tells us that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
As a result, you and I live in a broken world. A world that has been drifting off course ever since that slippery serpent enticed our first parents to reject God’s authority in that garden paradise so long ago. In that moment, they unwittingly handed over dominion of the earth to Satan on a silver platter. But this then begs the question. Why was God willing to risk rebellion in the Garden? And why would God allow His perfect creation to fall victim to the enemy’s schemes? And if God is good, why does He allow evil to exist?
Through this six-week study, you and I will explore the answers to these questions and more as we step into the fascinating story of the man known only by the name of the demons that tormented him. To be honest, I don’t know why I am attracted to the hard stories in the Bible. The messy stories. I suspect it stems, in part, from my own broken past. I can relate much easier to the broken people. The ones who experienced times when they felt unseen, or unloved, or unwanted. At the same time, their stories captivate my heart because when God reveals what He is doing behind the seen, His power and glory are displayed in ways that make my spirit soar!
So I invite you to come with me as we climb into the boat with Jesus and head into enemy territory. We will witness Jesus’s power and passion as He battles violent storms and armies of demons in order to rescue . . . one . . . lost . . . soul. Tormented, chained, and living in a graveyard, the man had no one to help him. No one to intercede for him. No one but Jesus. As a result:

  • A demoniac becomes a disciple.
  • A house of demons becomes a dwelling for the Living God.
  • The chained becomes a champion of good news.

You and I live in a world crying out for rescue. And just as Jesus was willing to cross the sea and rescue one man from the enemy’s chains, He crossed the heavens to rescue you and me from a fate even worse: eternal chains. But praise God that through His sacrifice for sin, Jesus conquered all the forces of evil and opened up the gates of paradise to all who embrace His mercy. So come with me. Let’s rediscover the God Who Rescues Me!
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” —Colossians 1:13 NASB

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, January 21
Robin’s Nest, January 21
Genesis 5020, January 22
Older & Smarter?, January 23
For the Love of Books, January 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 24
Texas Book-aholic, January 25
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 26
janicesbookreviews, January 27
Quiet Workings, January 27
Inklings and notions, January 28
Aryn the Libraryan , January 29
Godly Book Reviews, January 29
Through the Lens of Scripture, January 30
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 31
Lights in a Dark World, February 1
Pause for Tales, February 2
Emily Yager, February 3



To celebrate her tour, Shadia is giving away the grand prize package of 1 book of Legion, 1 book of Hagar and a $50 gift certificate to two winners each!!

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

My thoughts:

I did the first Bible study in this series and really enjoyed it. I love how Shadia doesn’t jump right into subject of the title (others might find that annoying). She does a fabulous job of laying the ground work for her material and subject.

For example with this study we start at the beginning of the Bible and how the enemy first comes on the scene with Adam and Eve. We take a stroll over the weeks into the new testament and more ways the enemy has been at work deceiving people ever since.

She gave me things to think about that I never considered before. I also appreciate how she works her own testimony into the Bible study. I look forward to what she come up with next.

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. 



The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen January 8, 2020

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.. 



Lone Star Ranger by Renae Brumbaugh Green December 31, 2019

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:03 pm



Elizabeth Covington will get her man.

And she has just a week to prove her brother isn’t the murderer Texas Ranger Rett Smith accuses him of being. She’ll show the good-looking lawman he’s wrong, even if it means setting out on a risky race across Texas to catch the real killer.

Rett doesn’t want to convict an innocent man. But he can’t let the Boston beauty sway his senses to set a guilty man free. When Elizabeth follows him on a dangerous trek, the Ranger vows to keep her safe. But who will protect him from the woman whose conviction and courage leave him doubting everything—even his heart?

My Thoughts:

I forget how much I enjoy Renea’s writing. I have read a couple of her books and they are so well crafted, she immediately draws me into the store. This book was no exception.

This is also a quick read, it didn’t take me much time at all, it helped that it was such an interesting story.

Elizabeth is a determined young woman who doesn’t fit into the mold of how a woman should act, but that doesn’t stop her, not when it means life or death for her brother.

Rett is a wonderful hero who starts to question his eagerness to arrest a man who looks like Hardy, but he isn’t afraid to admit he might have been wrong.

I also appreciated how Elizabeth and Rett start turning toward God and realize how much they need Him in their lives.

I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, if it’s anything like this one it promises to engaging.

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.