Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert June 15, 2018

Filed under: Book Reviews,Uncategorized — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:24 pm
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About:

Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district–and in their lives.

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

My thoughts:

Katie is an excellent author. If you have never read anything by her I highly recommend you do. She touches on tough topics and dives deep into the heart of humanity.

This newest book is no exception.

There were parts that made me chuckle as I rode in the car with Camille and her sixteen-year-old daughter. I wondered if Katie had been in the car with me and my daughter and that is why she could write the tension so realistically.

But that is not the point of this story. There are so many prejudices we all still carry and this book takes a raw, honest look at that.

These women’s lives are messy, as are ours. I wondered how in the world this could get cleaned up.

I loved this book and couldn’t wait to return to it. I highly recommend it.

Visit Katie 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 through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own. 

 

Life After by Katie Ganshert April 8, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:28 pm
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life-after

About:

It could have been me.
Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.
A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.
Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.
In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

My thoughts:

I have missed reading Katie’s books. I have never been disappointed by anything I have read of hers. This book was no exception.

This book starts with any opening scene that is full of mystery and wonder. I went back to read it after I got into the book a little because I needed to read those moments again.

Autumn is a character who just can’t move on but there are glimpses of hope. Her family is there for her and a bit crazy, very realistic.

Paul is trying to move on as well, but he has a secret of his own, one I didn’t see coming at first After it is revealed to the reader I wanted him to tell someone. It would make it so much easier for people to understand what is going on with him.

I really enjoyed Reese, Paul’s daughter. She is a typical teenager, rebelling a bit and dealing with her heartache.

I kept wondering if Autumn and Paul would fall for each other and how could that work? I won’t tell you if they do or not, you will just have to read for yourself and see how Katie has crafted this beautiful story.

This is an amazing read that will touch your heart and mind.

Visit Katie 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. 

 

Amish Christmas at North Star December 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:02 pm
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amish christmas

About This Book

One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah’s Babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, a possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star
by Katie Ganshert

Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star
by Amanda Flower

Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac.  Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?

In the Stars
by Cindy Woodsmall

Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love.  But when he is unexpectedly called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace
by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark

Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower’s life.

My thoughts:

This is a wonderful collection of stories by great authors.

The neat thing about this book is that all the novellas are connected by a prologue in the beginning. It begins with the birth of four babies and then we catch up with them almost twenty-five years later.

I am a fan of Katie Ganshert so I was interested in how she would write an Amish story. Well, her main characters aren’t Amish so it had the feel of her other books,which are fabulous.

The only author I had never read anything by before was Amanda Flower. I found her story to be just as good as the rest with a bit of mystery thrown in.

If you are looking for some Christmas stories this season this book is a must read.

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 in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert April 14, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:47 pm
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About:

Just like in my dream, I was drowning and nobody even noticed.

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together.  But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole?

My thoughts:

I have read everything Katie has written and there is a good reason for that. Her work is amazing and I think gets better with each book she puts out. Her characters are always real and relatable and such is the case with The Art of Losing Yourself.

First of all, the very title always has me singing From the Inside Out by Hillsong. If you’ve heard the song you’ll know why.

A change from the inside out is what both of the women in this book need. They are very focused on their hurts and wounds and don’t seek God for comfort.

Katie perfectly portrayed the crumbling of Carmen’s marriage. She wanted to show love to her husband but didn’t have the energy. I wanted to scream at her to stop pushing him away. He just wants to love her. But I have definitely been there and I think many other women will relate as well.

Gracie…grrrr. She was so frustrating. She too is an expert at keeping people at a distance and not letting them in. One boy in particular kept pursuing her and wanting to be her friend and she just wouldn’t let her walls down, at least for a while.

I couldn’t wait to see these women break. That sounds bad, but it’s in the breaking that we can be put back together and made into all God has planned for us. I knew when that happened Carmen and Gracie would see themselves so much more clearly.

I am highly recommending this book. Katie has woven together a story that will leave you reflecting on the words you have read long after the last page.

Visit Katie here.

This book doesn’t release until April 21st. Grab your copy at your local bookstore, or pre-order your copy now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

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

 

An October Bride by Katie Ganshert December 11, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:08 pm
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octoberAbout:

She wants to make her father’s dream come true. She doesn’t realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.

Emma Tate isn’t a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they’re getting married-so Emma’s dying father can walk her down the aisle.

While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father’s dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future.

My thoughts:

I. Loved. This. Story.

This is one of the best stories I have read in this series. I already love Katie’s writing from reading her novels so I was curious to see how she would handle a novella.

Let’s just say I was crying at the end.

I adored both Emma and Jake. They made a great couple before either of them even realized they did.

Katie did a wonderful job building doubt into the book, which is what will keep you reading, wondering how they can work this out and when they will admit their true feeling to each other.

I read this book so fast, in less than two hours, so this a quick read that I highly recommend.

Visit Katie here.

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

An e-copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review and Giveaway: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert April 17, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:14 pm
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a broken

About This Book

Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong
 
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

My thoughts:

This is Katie’s third book. I have read all three. I really liked her first one, I liked her second one even more.

So what do I think about number three?

I. LOVE. IT. The best one yet.

Wow. This books is the cry of my heart for women.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of Ivy, a beautiful, skinny model. I have to say Katie did a fabulous job of making her likeable. I think, for me, it was because I saw her actions through her brokenness. This girl needs the love of Jesus in her life so badly (don’t we all?). You can see that she is torn by her actions but doesn’t know any other way to operate in her world. She uses her beauty to lure men to her and but never allows herself to feel loved.

Then there is Davis. What a guy. Katie did a great job of keeping me engaged with his story and why he left photography and what that has to do with his sister.

I couldn’t wait to see how Katie would get these two to fall in love and how Jesus would come into Ivy’s life and just wreck her for Him and His love.

There is also Ivy’s step-mom, Marilyn. I can’t leave her out. I love how Jesus uses her in Ivy’s life as well.

This is really a beautiful story, a story that is so many women’s. You don’t have to be a super-model to fall into the traps Ivy falls into, you just have to be a women in this broken world. A world that desperately needs the love of Jesus.

I am giving away my Advance Reading Copy (ARC) to one commentator. Leave a comment by April 23rd to be entered. (U.S. residents only)

Visit Katie’s website here.

Visit her Facebook page here.

For more info. click here.

Read chapter one here.

Read Katie’s bio here.

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

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

Review: Wishing On Willows February 18, 2013

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Wishing On Willows by Katie Ganshert

Wishing on Willows is Katie’s second book and a spin-off from her first book Wildflowers from Winter.

I read Wildflowers from Winter and enjoyed it very much. I talked about that book here. So I was very excited to get a peek at Katie’s second book.

Isn’t the cover beautiful? It just draws you in with the light colors. The willow tree reminds me of a willow that once stood in my grandma’s yard.

Katie did not disappoint with her second book. Wishing on Willows was wonderful, I loved this book. The only downside is that it doesn’t release until March 19th, so you’ll have to wait a month to get it, but you can pre-order it, you won’t be sorry.

Honestly, I think I liked Wishing on Willows even more than Wildflowers from Winter and that’s saying a lot. I really liked the first book. But the story of Robin and Ian had my heart in knots.

This book has Genesis 5020 all over it. If you read Katie’s first book you know one of the characters was Bethany’s friend Robin. Robin’s husband dies while she’s pregnant. Wishing on Willows picks up on Robin’s story and how she copes with life four years after her husband’s death. She is using her experience from loosing her husband to help others who have lost a spouse, at the same time rasing her son and running the café she dreamed of building.

Ian McKay comes into town and plans on building some condos and wants to build them right where Robin has her café. Needless to say this adds a lot of tension between these two individuals who are both dealing with heartache and sometimes question God, like so many of us.

If you have ever raised a boy you will also appreciate Caleb, Robin’s son, and how Katie describes his boy-ness, down to an extra pair of Spiderman underwear in her purse — that made this mom laugh:)

Even if you haven’t read the first book you won’t be lost if you read this one first — although I recommend reading the first one as well 🙂

Click here to read the back cover blurb.

Click here to check out Katie’s website.

Click here to read Katie’s bio.

Click here to read the first chapter.

Reminder: the book releases March 19th.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

 

Loved-Part 10 January 25, 2013

This is my 100th post!!!!!!

Can you believe it? God has been so good since the beginning of this blog a year ago (January 27th was my first post).

To celebrate my 100th post I have a big giveaway for you. At the end of this post you will see all that I am giving away.

Heather’s Genesis 5020:

heart-of-love-1328441023DAUIn July 2011, I was promoted to Assistant Manager for the group home I was working in. I had been working midnights up until that point and it was wearing on me terribly.

With this new position, I’m able to work first and second shift. That was a direct answer to prayer.

Again, God’s plan was playing out for me.

It amazes me that even now when I go to work I get this feeling that I am right where He wants me to be. I love working with people with disabilities, they are so special to me and I know they are very special to God.
In the spring of 2012, my church made an announcement that a group would be starting up called Wounded Heart. It was for women who had been abused and who were looking for healing from their brokenness.

I heard God whisper to me to join this group, so I did. My sister was one of the leaders so that made it a little easier.

Through wounded heart, I uncovered so many hurts that I didn’t even realize I had but by uncovering them and sitting in my pain, I was able to work through a lot of my issues and begin to heal. Notice I didn’t say I am healed, I am in the process, still.

After Wounded Heart was over, I was able to free myself from John. I was able to forgive him and pray for him.

I’ve stopped living in fear of him and worrying that he’s going to find me. I’m trusting the God who saves me to protect me from him.

Also after Wounded Heart, I heard God whispering to me again. This time he was telling me to be baptized.

I’ve always been a kind of shy person who hates being in front of a crowd so being baptized never sounded appealing to me because of that. But I clearly heard God on this so I knew I had to obey.

On June 17, 2012, I was baptized. I was so nervous.

I knew I was doing the right thing but I had to give a brief video testimony about why I wanted to be baptized and I had to do it in front of all those people at church.

My brother-in-law is an elder at our church so he did the baptisms. He can tell you first hand, I was trembling when I went under the water.

I was excited to be celebrating my commitment to Christ but it was also a funeral, a burial of the woman I used to be.

I was happy to let go of my old self but really committing to my new life in Christ was a little scary for me, in a good way. My parents were there and so were some of the ladies from my Wounded Heart group.

I felt so much love that day.

I titled this post Loved for two reasons.

1) Heather was only beginning to feel and understand the weight of Christs love.

2) You are all loved dearly. I thank God for readers like you who have stuck by Patrick and I this past year and supported this blog.

To say thank you I am giving away seven books, some paperback, some hardback.

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers (has been read once, you can see in the binding)

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Islandby Cara Putman

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Veil of Pearls by Marylu Tyndall ( has been read, the corners of the cover are slightly worn, nothing major)

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

What to do When the Roof Caves In by Marilyn Meberg

Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels

I also will throw in one of those ruffled knitted scarves that are so popular at craft shows. I saw them and thought, “I can make that.” So I did.

As a special thank you to my subscribers, if you leave a comment your name will be entered twice. That goes for anyone who scribes today too 🙂

But you don’t have to subscribe to enter, I just want to do something special for those who do.

******* To enter leave a comment about something God has done in your life over the last year, or leave a prayer request, I would be honored to pray for you. Do this by January 31st at 5:00 pm to be entered. ********

 

Write to the Point with Wildflowers from Winter November 21, 2012

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:02 am
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This week’s write to the point is a little different.

Katie Ganshert, whose debut novel Wildflowers from Winter came out in May, has made available the first two chapters for you to read. To get a peek at this wonderful book  click here.

Katie’s book reminds me a lot of my novel A Bridge of Promise, which is now in the hands of some readers who are looking it over and giving me honest feedback.

The heroine in Wildflowers is a bit tough at first. There were points were I wasn’t sure if I liked her all that much. I knew that Bethany (the main character) was broken and she tried to cover up her brokenness.

My heroine, Ella, does the same thing. Instead of dealing with her wounds she attempts to conceal her hurt in destructive ways.

In honor of this peek into Wildflowers from Winter,  and in celebration of my book so close to being ready for submission, am giving away a copy of the book Wildflowers from Winter to one commentator.

This is my own copy that has been gently used but in great shape, I take care of my books 🙂 Because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, share one thing you are thankful for by November 27th at 5:00 pm and you will be entered in the drawing.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!