Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin July 9, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:26 pm
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Combining heart-wrenching emotion with edge-of-your-seat tension, New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin explores the true power of sacrificial love.

Murphy Shepherd has made a career of finding those no one else could—survivors of human trafficking. His life’s mission is helping others find freedom . . . but then the nightmare strikes too close to home.

When his new wife, her daughter, and two other teenage girls are stolen, Murphy is left questioning all he has thought to be true. With more dead ends than leads, he has no idea how to find his loved ones. After everything is stripped away, love is what remains.

Hope feels lost, but Murphy is willing to expend his last breath trying to bring them home.

My thoughts:

I’m going to be honest. I was about 40% through the book and I didn’t really care to read anymore, which is weird, because I always love Charles’ books. But the first half is really a lot of backstory and narration. I was bored.

But I kept reading, and wow, I’m glad it did. I was up until 2am because I had to see how it ended. So push through that first half because the last half is well worth it and it does add a lot of depth to the overall story.

I would say I think you need to read The Water Keeper first, otherwise you will probably be pretty confused, but you won’t regret reading that one either.

Visit Charles here.

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

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

 

The Way it Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson March 22, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:00 pm
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After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly intertwined again. When Eve’s troubled lifestyle causes the state to contact Zara about taking custody of Eve’s two children, Zara feels wholly unprepared. Besides never knowing she was an aunt, her new house, new husband, and plans for the future were meant to give her a fresh start.

Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance at a new beginning with the help of Tiff Bradley, who, after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family, is dedicated to helping women everyone else has given up on.

Over the course of one summer, all three women’s hearts and lives hang in the balance as Eve desperately works toward a new life. Can they redefine their expectations of how life should be to find the hope they–and those they love–so desperately need?

My thoughts:

Wow. This is an AMAZING book. It is not neat and tidy but real.

The ending was conflicting for me. It didn’t really end the way I wanted it to, yet it did end the way I wanted it to. If you read it you will understand what I mean.

The relationship between the two sisters reminded me a lot of my relationship with my sister, not so much now but in the past so I could relate to the feelings Zara had.

I can’t imagine dealing with an addition like this, the need to have it and feeling like you will die without the drug. But the author does a wonderful job of making the reader feel the conflict.

She also did a great job bringing Jesus into the book without being preachy. So many “Christian” books leave him out or the characters don’t even go to church but these characters did, or had the real life situation of struggling to get to church and dealing with kids when you get there.

If you haven’t read a book by Christina I highly recommend this one.

Visit Christina 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. All opinions are my own.

 

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas February 10, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 7:18 pm
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The runaway New York Times bestseller, revised and with a new introduction from the author.

Who better to face the greatest evil of the 20th-century than a humble man of faith?

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and author. In his blockbuster New York Times bestselling biography, Eric Metaxas takes both strands of Bonhoeffer’s life—the theologian and the spy—and draws them together to tell a searing story of incredible moral courage in the face of monstrous evil. Metaxas presents the fullest accounting of Bonhoeffer’s heart-wrenching decision to leave the safe haven of America to return to Hitler’s Germany, and sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the famous Valkyrie plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland. In a deeply moving narrative, Metaxas uses previously unavailable documents?including personal letters, detailed journal entries, and firsthand personal accounts?to reveal dimensions of Bonhoeffer’s life and theology never before seen.

My thoughts:

This is a lot of book, but I found it very interesting. I have heard of Bonhoeffer but didn’t know much about him. The author does a great job of making a bioagraphy read more like a novel. It was very engaging. But it is a loooong book, so there is your forwarning.

Bonhoeffer started off like any one of us, a normal family with struggles but he had a huge impact in the world. What an example for the rest of us. His faith was unshakeable. May we all be as brave as him.

Visit Eric 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. All opinions are my own.

 

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman February 9, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:27 pm
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Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

My thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to think of this book at first. It seemed strange to read a Christian book about a ghost. But I kept going. I don’t want to spoil anything but trust me, there is a logical explanation for everything.

I enjoyed Dini’s quirky, awkwardness and Quinn’s nerdiness. They made an unlikely, yet perfect, match.

The author did a wonderful job and tying up all the loose strings, and there were a lot. My brain kept scrambling to try and make sense of everything and Allison put it all together beautifully.

I am excited that this is a new series Barbour Publishing is putting out. I already plan on reviewing the next book. Can’t wait!

Visit Allison 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. All opinions are my own.

 

Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson January 14, 2021

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:07 pm
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Where there is wealth and power, there’s always someone willing to do anything to take it.

England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as daughter of an earl is shattered when her father dies and his wife accuses Delia’s seven brothers of treason and murder. The youngest is only ten years old, but this doesn’t stop the guards from hauling them off to the Tower of London. There they await a grim fate, as child-king Richard II is executing anyone who poses a threat to his throne. Delia is their only hope for pardon and freedom.

Sir Geoffrey did not expect his first assignment as captain of the guard to be the arrest of boys so young. He dutifully imprisons the brothers, but he can’t ignore the sense, rooted in personal experience, that injustice and treachery are at work.

Determined to rescue her brothers, Delia secures a position as a seamstress for the queen. Her quest is all but impossible as the executions continue. Sir Geoffrey offers to be her ally, but should she trust him in a court where everyone has an agenda?

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a tender retelling of “The Wild Swans,” where the virtues of loyalty and love face a harrowing showdown with power and fear.

My thoughts:

I have loved Melanie’s books so I never hesitate to read her newest releases.

This book had a great message, a questions many of us struggle with, where is God when bad things happen to us? Delia struggled with this throughout the book, wondering why this horrible thing had happened to her brothers as she fought for them.

But, honestly, I almost felt like someone else had written this book. It just didn’t have the same character depth and likeability that Melanie’s others books have. I had to force myself to keep reading because I really didn’t connect with the book. It felt a bit immature. Technically this is YA novel so maybe a middle school or high school student would like this more. This one wasn’t for me though.

Visit Melanie 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. All opinions are my own.

 

Joy to the World, Christmas Collection December 24, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:43 pm
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Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors

In Joy to the World, three popular authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas in one book have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome their obligations and fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?

“Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?

“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch
A Scots portrait painter with a hidden identity finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart.

My thoughts:

This is one of the best, if not the best, Christmas collections I have read.

One thing I enjoyed was that I have read all of Carolyn’s books and I have read Erica’s current series so I got read about or see again characters from the other books. That was especially true of “Wonders of His Love”.

Each story is well done and didn’t feel rushed at all.

Whether you are looking to extend the Christmas “feels” or looking for a book for next year I highly recommend this one.

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. All opinions are my own.

 

Chasing Love by Sean McDowell December 23, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:23 pm
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The music we listen to, the movies we watch—they’re all telling us to keep chasing love, and that we’ll finally be happy when we find it.
 
But is love really all we need? 
 
The love that the world tells us to pursue is all about self, about following your heart’s desires. But what is the Christian worldview on love? When we follow Jesus, we realize that he invites us to reorient the focus of our lives, so instead of chasing love primarily for our own happiness, we are first and foremost to give love—to God and to others. 
 
In Chasing Love, Sean McDowell will invite readers into Jesus’ radical, upside-down approach to love, and in doing so, he’ll answer some of the toughest questions we’re asking about love today:
  How does Jesus speak to singleness? What does the gospel say about LGBTQ issues? Can sexual sin truly be forgiven? What if I’m not happy in my marriage?

My thoughts:

I passed by this book many times until I heard the author speak on a podcast I listen to and realized this wasn’t your typical “wait until you get married” lecture. The author does a great job giving reasons why you should keep sexually pure beside “the Bible tells you so”. Which should be a good enough reason but why does the Bible tell us so? And that is where this book fills in the gap.

Not only would this book be great for teens and young adults, but parents should read this book so we can have real conversations with our kids.

Highly recommend this read.

Visit Sean here.

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

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

 

Wrapped up in Christmas Joy by Janice Lynn December 18, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:46 pm
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When a quilt shop ownerfinds a former Marine’s journal,she longs to heal his heart…

When Sophie Davis sorts through a box of donated books to her church, she’s surprised to discover a soldier’s journal. As the daughter of a veteran who watched her father struggle over the years, she feels a deep connection to the man who wrote the emotional entries.

Former Marine Cole Aaron battled to find peace after returning to civilian life. He’s always needed to protect others. Now, fighting fires in Pine Hill, Kentucky helps him put out the demons within him. When Sophie shows up at the fire hall with his journal from when he’d first returned stateside, Cole can’t believe it was in the box he’d donated. Not wanting to face painful memories, he tells her to trash it.

Sophie and Cole are drawn together as they both volunteer for their community, but it’s hard for Cole to let down his guard, and he doesn’t need anyone’s pity. After all he’s been through in the past, can he find faith in a more hopeful future…one touched by joy?

This heartwarming romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Dilly Duchess Potatoes.

My thoughts:

So I will admit it. I love watching all the cheesy Hallmark movies at Christmastime, even more so this year because I just need something predictable and that I don’t have to think about. I know they are not well written pieces of work, but I love them nonetheless.

I will say, though, I thought this book was well written. It has so much more depth then the movies have, which is typical for books.

The books are even better then the moves for the reason above and because you get to become fully immersed in the town the story takes place. It’s like wrapping a warm blanket around you.

If you are still looking for a cozy Christmas story this one might be right up your alley,.

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

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

 

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen December 15, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:30 pm
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Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast–known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors–Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents’ fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

My thoughts:

An excellent book by Julie. This story is told with rich character development and vivid narration.

I could identify with Laura and how she felt like an outsider at times and like she didn’t belong. Alex seems to bring her connection.

I enjoyed all of the characters in this book and I like the ending and a bit of surprise we get, although I can’t share it here.

If you enjoy historical romance with a flare for the sea you will love this book.

Visit Julie 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. All opinions are my own.

 

The Need for Creeds Today by J.V. Fesko December 9, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:17 pm
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This brief, accessible invitation to the historic creeds and confessions makes a biblical and historical case for their necessity and shows why they are essential for Christian faith and practice today. J. V. Fesko, a leading Reformed theologian with a broad readership in the academy and the church, demonstrates that creeds are not just any human documents but biblically commended resources for the well-being of the church, as long as they remain subordinate to biblical authority. He also explains how the current skepticism and even hostility toward creeds and confessions came about.

My thoughts:

If you are into church history then you will love this book. I actually did find this interesting. I have wondered about the Creeds. We don’t say them in our church but I remember some of them from my younger years. I actually found and app that has creeds and there is power in them. Why have we walked away from these powerful traditions? I know for me I think it because it can be ritualistic but there is something refreshing in going back to these creeds.

It was very interesting to read how these came to be and how they have dissipated through the years.

If you don’t enjoy church history you probably won’t like this book but if that intrigues you it might be right up your ally.

Visit J.V. 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. All opinions are my own.