Genesis 5020

My Story for His Glory

Review and Giveaway: With You Always by Jody Hedlund August 28, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:50 pm
Tags: , ,


Could Following the Opportunity of a Lifetime Cost Them the Love of Their Lives?

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children’s Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society’s orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother’s shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn’t be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they’ve been working toward?

My thoughts and giveaway:

I haven’t met a Jody Hedlund book I haven’t liked 🙂 This new series starts off with a bang.

First, I love the research Jody books into her books. I learn new things from her writing and if you read the authors notes at the end you can understand even more.

Elisa is a wonderful character. I loved her sarcasm and sometimes snarky attitude. I also appreciated that she was real about her relationship with Jesus. She had pulled away, but the message in the book is that He never pulled away from her. The title has a double meaning which I find beautiful.

Thorton…what’s not to love. What a fantastic hero, most of the time. He has his faults of course but he is a great guy.

I found myself with tears in my eyes a couple of times, a true sign that this book was touching my heart. And most of that came for the other characters in the book and their love for Elise and Thorton.

I am really curious about the upcoming books and who will be featured in them. There was unsolved story lines in this book so I am hoping those will get resolved later in the series.

Visit Jody here.

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

Leave a comment by September 11th for your chance to win a copy of this book. One winner will be chosen by (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. 


Never Forget by Jody Hedlund January 12, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:02 pm
Tags: ,



Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Never Forget

Author: Jody Hedlund

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 4, 2017

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Islandneverforgetfrontfinal-194x300

June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Wilson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

About the Author

jody-hedlund-web-copy-250x300Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award,  best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?

By Jody Hedlund

Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.

Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.

I see the pros and cons of both.

For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.

On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.

My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.

My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.

In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.

And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.

If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.

To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!

Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?

Blog Stops

January 10: Reading Is My SuperPower

January 10: Karen Sue Hadley

January 10: Bookworm Mama

January 11: Faithfully Bookish

January 11: Inklings and Notions

January 11: Blossoms and Blessings

January 12: Smiling Book Reviews

January 12: Genesis 5020

January 12: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

January 13: God’s Little Bookworm

January 13: The Scribbler

January 13: Bibliophile Reviews

January 14: Daysong Reflections

January 14: Blogging With Carol

January 14: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

January 15: Moments Dipped in Ink

January 15: Books. Books. And More Books.

January 16: A Greater Yes

January 16: Bigreadersite

January 17: Connie’s History Classroom

January 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

January 18: Book by Book

January 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts

January 19: Carpe Diem

January 19: A Bakers Perspective

January 19: Splashes of Joy

January 20: Christian Bookaholic

January 20: Stuff and Nonsense

January 20: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

January 21: Radiant Light

January 21: cherylbbookblog

January 21: His Grace is Sufficient

January 22: Neverending Stories

January 22: A Path of Joy

January 23: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after

January 23: Henry Happens

January 23: Onceuponatime



To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

My thoughts:

Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite historical romance writers. I especially enjoy her writing because a lot of her books are set in Michigan (my favorite state) so I wasn’t sure about this one, but she proved it doesn’t matter the setting, Jody is a wonderful author no matter where the story take place.

This book opens with a scene that easily places you in the trouble Abbie is in and we quickly develop sympathy for her. I adore Gramps and she handles him with love.

The we meet Nathaniel. It’s easy to see that prior to him losing his memory he wasn’t a very nice guy.

Jody developed the misunderstanding of Abbie and Nathaniel’s “marriage” very well. Next thing you know Abbie finds herself in a bind and doesn’t know what to do.

So many layers, misunderstandings, and questions of what will happen when everything comes to light. This is a great book that will keep you turning page after page until you reach the end.

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


Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund December 9, 2016

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 2:23 pm
Tags: ,



Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found…

Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

My thoughts:

I have loved every book I have read by Jody Hedlund. At first I wasn’t sure if I would love this one as much as the others, it did take me until about chapter four before I was hooked and didn’t want to put the book down.

Jody can write romance like no other, the tension she builds is so real and I feel it in my heart.

This is a beautiful story of how Polly and John Newton could’ve fallen in love. I enjoyed thinking about the path they could have taken that lead to John writing beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace” and the meaning behind the words.

It was not an easy journey, as every good love story goes. But love does prevail and God’s amazing grace.

If you enjoy a good historical romance this is a great one to read.

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 by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund February 19, 2016

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:49 pm
Tags: ,

undaunted hope



Eagle Harbor, Michigan

In a Town Mired in Darkness,
She May Shine the Light They Need

Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it’s too late to replace her. Tessa can’t help but thank him and say she is in his debt.

Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

My thoughts:

In true Jody Hedlund form, she has created a cast of characters for us to love (or not, depending on the character).

Tessa comes from the book before this one (however, if you haven’t read the previous book don’t let that stop you from picking up this one but the other books in this series are amazing). I wasn’t a huge fan of some of Tessa’s choices in the previous book but she is looking to redeem herself and that alone puts me on her side.

She meets Alex and is a hero from the very beginning, a kind and strong man who can see Tessa’s true beauty.

I also love that fact this book takes place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I love northern Michigan, there is so much beauty so it was wonderful to visit this part of my great state.

Another great book by Jody, you won’t be disappointed.

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

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund August 24, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:58 pm
Tags: ,

luther and katrina



She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

My thoughts:

I’m not even sure where to begin.

I am a fan of Jody’s, I love her historical romances. When I saw this book up for review I was a little surprised to see Jody’s name on it. This just didn’t seem like something she would write, a book about Marin Luther, the leader of the Reformation.

I also wondered how interesting you could make a love story about him? But I figured if anyone could do it, it would be Jody Hedlund. And I was right.

Wow. There is never a dull moment in this book. The interesting part is that a lot of the persecution written about actually took place. I couldn’t believe what these reformers had to endure and the fine line Martin had to walk between the peasants and princes. So much violence.

The thing is as I was reading this I thought I can see some of this coming back. If the Church stands by the Bible (as we should) we are and will face persecution in the days ahead.

The romance between Martin and Katharina was intense. They are both stubborn and passionate people. Once again, Jody depicted their love so well your heart will ache for them.

I will caution readers that some of the romance was intense and if that is a an area you need to be careful with then just be forewarned. Nothing in appropriate, I just know the areas I struggle with which is why I don’t read secular romance and many Christians won’t read Christian romance for the same reason.

But for me I loved this book. Jody is a master storyteller and created a very believable story world.

Visit Jody here. 

For more info. click here.

Click here for Jody’s bio.

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

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


Review and Giveaway: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund June 25, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:17 pm
Tags: , ,

hearts made whole


Windmill Point, Michigan

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

My thoughts and giveaway:

Jody Hedlund (sigh). I have never been disappointed with anything I have read of hers so far. I don’t know how she turns out book after book that captures me, keeps me up way past my bedtime, has me feeling so deeply for her characters but she does.

Hearts Made Whole is a wonderful story of two people dealing with different things and brought together by a lighthouse.

Ryan Chambers is introduced in the first book in this series. Don’t worry, if you didn’t read the first book you won’t feel lost. It truly can be read as a stand-alone. He is returning from the Civil War and he is broken, inside and out. We easily see his outward wounds but it’s the ones on the inside that Jody slowly reveals to the reader.

Caroline wants to take care of everybody but herself. So much is resting on her shoulders and she’s willing to sacrifice her own happiness to care for her family. But someone starts targeting her and strange things are happening at her home.

This book deals with the wounds that so many of us carry and coming to the One who can redeem and restore, who makes all things new.

Visit Jody here.

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

Leave a comment by July 3rd for your chance to win a copy. Winner will be chosen by (U.S. addresses only. I am not responsible for book lost or damaged in the mail.)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Review and Giveaway: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund December 22, 2014

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



Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she’s left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He’s just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other’s dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife’s death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

My thoughts and giveaway:

Jody Hedlund has written another beautiful book with well-developed characters that have flaws and a back story that she slowly reveals just as you need it.

I love that Jody is a Michigan author and this is another book set in Michigan. It was fun to Google images of the lighthouse in this book and see it with my own eyes.

Emma is a lovely heroine who is just trying to find her way. She has no idea how beautiful she truly is and I love that humbleness in her. She is thrown into being a wife and mother and doesn’t find it easy at all since she has had no preparation as most women her age would’ve have been raised to have a family.

Patrick has embraced the amazing grace of Jesus but still struggles with the demons in his past. He has been running from his past and fears the day it will catch up with him.

Even though Emma and Patrick are married their romance is a slow build filled with tender moments.

If you are a Jody Hedlund fan I think you will be pleased with this book and even if you aren’t but enjoy a good historical romance this is a book I recommend.

Visit Jody here.

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

Leave a comment by January 3rd for your chance to win a copy. (U.S. residents only)

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.