Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: Jaded by Varina Denman April 13, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:37 pm
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jaded
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
by
Varina Denman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An avid reader and blogger, Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about Christian women and the unique struggles they face. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and is currently working on a three book Texas series which will soon be published by David C. Cook. The first book in the series, Jaded, won the 2013 ACFW Genesis contest for romance.

Varina attended three Texas universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in the local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature.

Even though Varina has spoken at ladies’ retreats and taught women’s Bible classes, she finds the greatest fulfillment facilitating prayer groups. She lives in Burleson, Texas, where she helps with Family Ministry in her home congregation. Varina is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and North Texas Christian Writers.

ABOUT THE BOOK

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jaded, go HERE.

My thoughts and giveaway:

I. Loved. This. Book.

From the very beginning Varina drew me into this story and I never wanted to let go. I was up so late reading and not getting tired because the book captivated me so much. This doesn’t happen often but when it does it is good.

What did I love? I think Varina’s writing style was one thing that pulled me in. It bounces back and forth between first person point-of-view with Ruthie to third person POV with Dodd.

The small town feel gives you a sense of being right there with the characters.

Ruthie is jaded by the church, but we don’t find out exactly why for a long time. Hints are dropped but it’s not made clear. Even though Ruthie is rough around the edges I still liked her but I wanted her to let people in. I wanted her to see that not all Christians act the way she thinks they do and that Dodd and his family are the good guys.

Dodd is thrown into this community and is told what has always been done at the church. How many of us can relate to the “what has always been done” statement by will intentioned church goers? But what has always been done isn’t what should always happen.

I adored Ruthie’s cousin, JohnScott. I am pretty sure he gets a leading role in the second book to come out, which I think will be soon from what I saw on Varina’s website. Yay, can’t wait.

Basically, I have found a new author I love. Her writing is clear and real, characters flawed and well-developed. This is a must read for anyone who loves contemporary romance or someone who has been hurt by the church.

Visit Varina here.

Grab a copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chrsitianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by April 22nd for your chance to win. Winner will be chosen by random.org. (U.S. residents only. I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.)

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

 

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd April 6, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:46 am
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Mist of Midnight
Howard Books (March 10, 2015)
by
Sandra Byrd

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. The Tudor series’ end cap, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, debuts in March, 2015.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens, and is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her…and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mist of Midnight, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I have not received my book yet so I have no review for you today 😦

Visit Sandra here.

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

 

 

Review and Giveaway: The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem March 23, 2015

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Tomb

Howard Books (March 17, 2015)

by

Stephanie Landsem

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.

My thoughts and giveaway:

This was a book that I started reading on a night I was very tired and thought I would fall asleep before I got too far into the book. And hour later I forced myself to stop reading even though my mind was fully stimulated by this story.

This is the first book I have read by Stephanie and I have to say I have found another Biblical fiction author I need to keep my eyes on.

What an interesting twist she gives to Martha. Not anything I would have ever imagined for her but Stephanie makes if very plausible.

I love how she combined several events from the Bible in this book. We have the whole situation when Jesus tells Martha that Mary is choosing the good thing. Then there is the man possessed by demons that Jesus casts out. Then we have the death of Lazarus.

Stephanie portrayed Jesus wonderfully. It was interesting to read about him in a fiction book, that doesn’t happen too often.

I could go into a lot more detail but then this review would be very long. Overall, this is a wonderful book that will give you some things to think about and possibly view Martha in a new way. I highly recommend this read.

Visit Stephanie here.

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

Leave a comment by April 1st for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only, I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.)

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

 

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman March 16, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:37 pm
Tags: , ,

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dauntless
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
by
Dina L. Sleiman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Where Legend and History Collide,

One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village–a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to reexamine everything he’s known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dauntless, go HERE.

My thoughts:

What an intriguing tale Dina has told in this book.

If you aren’t familiar with Dina’s writing you might want to be. I read her first book and loved it, Dance of the Dandelion. I haven’t had the chance to read anything else by her until now and I am very glad I picked up this book.

This is a young adult book, but as is usually the case, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Merry has taken on the role of leader with a band of children she rescued. Her heart is tender and kind toward them and she will do whatever it takes to protect them. She must make tough decisions as time progresses and hiding becomes harder.

Then she catches a glimpse of Timothy, the boy she thought she would marry one day. But now he is out to get her, but he doesn’t know it is her that he is hunting.

Of course to add even more tension to this story another boy has decided he would like Merry to fall in love with him.

If you are captivated by stories like Robin Hood (which is mentioned in this book) then you will adore this novel. It did take me a few chapters to get into it but once I was in I didn’t want to put the book down. Young and old alike will delight in this tale.

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

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

 

Soul Painter by Cara Luecht January 12, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:36 pm
Tags: ,

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Soul Painter
WhiteFire Publishing (March 15, 2014)
by
Cara Luecht

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the Author:

I never planned to be a writer. In fact, it took me a while to finish college. But I did, and here I am. And I now I can’t imagine not being a writer.

By day, I am an English Instructor at MATC, Marketing Manager for Degnan Design Builders, Inc., mother to four amazing children, wife to an eternally patient and supportive husband, and Worship Leader for Living Hope Fellowship in Sun Prairie, WI. In the evening, when I can squirrel away some quiet time, I read and write historical fiction.

I have a B.A. in English Lit. from UW Whitewater and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

If you have a question for me, or if you are local and would like me to stop by your book club or writer’s group, please drop me a line via the “Ask the Author” tab. I always love the opportunity to meet with others who share my love of books.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Miriam paints the future…but can she change it?

Chicago – 1890

Miriam watches the people jostle their way below the windows of her warehouse home, never thinking to look up at her as she paints their faces. But Miriam’s gift as an artist goes beyond a mere recording of what is: Miriam paints their futures. Only once was she wrong. One woman doesn’t match the future Miriam saw. The bright girl was supposed to grow into a respected businesswoman. Instead, Ione disappears nightly into the shadowed alley next to the cathedral with the other prostitutes. Then one night, while walking through the city fog, Miriam finds Ione broken and beaten. Miriam is forced to open her home to the stranger whose face she knows so well and open her life to change she never could have foretold. Women are missing—some found floating in the river, some never seen again. The deacon from the cathedral is the first to help. Soon Miriam’s solicitor, Michael, aids her in rejoining society so they might uncover the evil at work in the corrupt city…and awakens feelings she had never considered before. Finally engaged with the world she has so long observed, finally stirred by love and friendship, Miriam realizes the responsibility of her gifting. No longer can she just paint what will be. She must now help Ione find the future she is meant to have…and find her own along with it.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Soul Painter, go HERE.

 

My thoughts:

This is definitely a different read. Kind of dark, mysterious. But I liked it.

Cara has written a book that will have you asking yourself many questions. Why is Mariam afraid of other people? Who is hurting these young women? Will they leave this life of sin? Can they find a way out? And what about John, the soon-to-be priest? Is he attracted to Mariam and if so what can he do about it?

I wanted to know so much more about Mariam’s past, I wanted things to add up quicker than they did but I read patiently and waited for things to come together.

Overall, a very good read. Like I said, this is different but if you are looking for something a little bit out of the norm this just might be the book for you.

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

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

 

Review and Giveaway: Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts December 15, 2014

eb304-promise_to_cherish

I posted about this book here but I didn’t have the book to review. Below is my review and giveaway.

My thoughts and giveaway:

Wow. This booked pulled me into the story world and didn’t let me go.

Elizabeth has written a heart-wrenching and thought-provoking story.

Christine deals with something very traumatic, something too many women have to deal with and end up blaming themselves. Not all of them have the same backlash that Christine has but all have the same wounds.

Eli is trying to be different but people keep seeing him as he once was. He grows frustrated with himself when he slips back to his old ways and wonders if he has really changed at all.

The first half of this book will pull you in and raises so many questions. I kept thinking how can all of this be answered or fixed in the second half?

If you enjoy Amish fiction or maybe you aren’t a big Amish fan this might be a book you want to give a try. It is intense not laid back like a lot of Amish fiction.

This is the second book in the series but it can be read as a stand-alone. There are references to the first book but I only know that because I read the first book. If you didn’t you won’t be lost.

Grab a copy at your local bookstore, Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or Books-A-Million.

Leave a comment by December 23rd at 5:00 p.m. for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only)

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

 

Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts November 17, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:22 pm
Tags: , ,

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promises to Cherish
Howard Books (October 7, 2014)
by
Elizabeth Yount

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Byler Younts is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an Air Force officer’s wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters. She makes her home wherever her family is stationed. Elizabeth was Amish as a child and after her parents left the church she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.

ABOUT THE BOOK

As World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes.

It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.

Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.

Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promises to Cherish , go HERE.

I have not received this book to review as of this posting. I am hoping to get it soon and will post a review in December.