Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

The First Principle by Marissa Shrock February 12, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:33 pm
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In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of North America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Martina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory termination–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

My thoughts:

This book doesn’t hold back. Marissa tells her character’s stories like they are. But we in the mind of a teenager. A teenager that doesn’t know the Lord, so her thoughts are going to be a bit troublesome to us mothers.

Vivica is a typical teen who finds out she’s pregnant. According to the law she is supposed to terminate her pregnancythe first princ and as I stated she doesn’t know Jesus so she thinks she should go along with this. But other people are speaking into her life and urging her not to do this. She begins to question everything she holds true.

She’s always loved her mother, but is her mother really making the best choices? Could her mother be wrong in her policies? And then a secret is revealed to the reader that simply broke my heart.

This is definitely written or the teen market and I think this could raise some good conversations with your teen. I would not let my middle schooler read this yet, the content was a bit too mature for her, I think. But it is a great book for an older child.

Marissa definitely pulled me into this story and had me wondering what would happen next. Overall, a very interesting read.

Visit Marissa here.

Grab your copy at your local book store, Amazon,  Barnes and Noble or

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


The Ishbane Conspiracy by Angela, Karina and Randy Alcorn February 5, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:30 pm
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Jillian is picture-perfect on the outside, but terrified of getting hurt on the inside. Brittany is a tough girl who trusts almost no one. Ian is a successful athlete who dabbles in the occult. And Rob is a former gang-banger who struggles with guilt, pain, and a newfound faith in God. These four college students will face the ultimate battle between good and evil in a single year. As spiritual warfare rages around them, a dramatic demonic correspondence takes place. Readers can eavesdrop on the enemy, and learn to stave off their own defeat, by reading The Ishbane Conspiracy.

My thoughts:

If you have read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and like it then this is a book you will thoroughly enjoy.

From the beginning I was pulled into this book and the “realness” of it. This book is so close to real life and what teen-agers struggle with.

Our four characters are all going through something, or have gone through something and the enemy is playing on the their weakness and wounds.

Oh, to be inside the head of the enemy made me so mad sometimes because I know these are the games he really tries to play with us and our children. He even talks about how he knows he can’t take down those that are already believers but can make us ineffective…grrrr.

This book is layered in truth and grounded in the Word. I think it was eye-opening for me to read this and be reminded how the enemy uses seemingly innocent things for his twisted plans.

The main characters are young but I don’t feel this is a young adult novel. I believe this book is for everyone and parents with teens will especially glean a lot from this book.

This is a novel I highly recommend 🙂

For more info. click here.

Click here for more info. about the authors.

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

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


Write to the Point with Marissa Shrock February 4, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:16 pm
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Marissa Shrock HeadshotToday we get write to the point with Marissa Shrock. I actually will be reviewing her book on this blog next week and I can’t wait to tell you all about it 🙂

Tell us about yourself, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I’m a middle school language arts teacher who was born and raised in Indiana. I still live there.

I’ve been writing professionally for seven years. I’d always written in a journal and enjoyed writing an occasional story, but I didn’t start learning the craft until seven years ago when I enrolled in the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice course. After completing that course I took the Journeyman and Craftsman courses. The lessons I learned helped me achieve my dream of publication. Unfortunately, the guild has since closed.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?                

I grew up with parents and grandparents who modeled what it meant to have a relationship with Christ. When I was young, I accepted Christ as my Savior every time I heard someone lead a salvation prayer just in case my salvation hadn’t stuck the time before.

I made a public commitment the Easter I was thirteen. At that time I fully understood what it meant to know Jesus as my Savior, and I became serious about reading the Bible and growing in my faith.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My young adult novel, The First Principle, is a futuristic story about a teenage girl who must comply with her country’s FirstPrinciplemandatory pregnancy termination law for underage girls or run away and seek the help of an underground rebel group that’s planning a revolution.

There’s a lot that readers can take away, but the most important is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). In addition, following Christ comes with a cost that may impact family relationships (Matthew 10:34-36).

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I blog two times per month on the subjects of faith, reading, writing, and teaching. Every once in a while I write about trips and give travel tips for the destinations I’ve visited.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

My favorite is L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. The heroine lives an oppressed life until one day when she learns she’s dying. She makes up her mind to stop living to please others. The changes that come about in her life are both humorous and profound.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

If you’d told me at 20 that I’d still be unmarried at 34, I probably would’ve taken a dive off of a cliff. A lot of people assume everyone who is single has a gift or a calling. While some singles do, I don’t believe I’m one of those people. Instead, I believe singleness is a trial God is allowing in my life.

I think there are many Christians who are single because we live in a morally corrupt culture, and Satan is waging a war against families. A healthy family begins with a man and woman who have a Christ-centered relationship. Therefore, I believe Satan does his best to keep Christian men and women from finding each other and creating godly homes.

The good news is God is more powerful than Satan. I believe Satan has intended my painful years of singleness for harm, but God has used them for good. God has drawn me close to him, taught me the importance of waiting on his timing and direction, strengthened my faith, and has guided me on a path that lead to publication. Eight years ago, I never would’ve dreamed I’d have a published novel.


Thank you so much for sharing that, I believe a lot of singles need to hear that message and I’m so glad you can find the good in it.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?            

Isaiah 64:4 is special to me because of my years of singleness and what God has taught me about waiting on him.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Where can we find you on the web?

Thanks for sharing with my readers and being so open with us. We love hearing from new to us authors. I know God will continue to guide and direct you steps. Be blessed!


Review: Past Darkness by Laurel Woidode May 2, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:21 am
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This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Past Darkness

Crossway (April 30, 2013)
Laurel Woiwode


Laurel Woiwode graduated with honors from Jamestown College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both English and History. She works with ESL students, writes movie reviews at, works on writing and editing projects, and is always ready for outdoor adventures. Laurel grew up in rural North Dakota, has had an avid interest in animals, nature, and literature since childhood, and she is the author of Past Darkness.


Gabrielle Larson is an average, 15 year old girl living in Chicago when tragedy strikes. In the aftermath, she is forced to relocate to rural North Dakota and henceforth spends the next chapter of her life learning to cope with trials involving everything from family to faith. Laurel Woiwode, daughter of critically acclaimed novelist Larry Woiwode, offers here a moving story that will be appreciated by female and male readers alike. Past Darkness is not preachy or heavy-handed, but rather a touching story about the importance of family, the power of music, and the ever-present mercy of God.

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

My thoughts:

Unfortunately, I could not get into this book. At first I thought maybe it was because it was a young adult novel but I knew that couldn’t be it because I have read a lot of  young adult books and found myself wrapped up in the story. I was very distant from this story and I really didn’t want to be.

The main character is a singer and loved music until her parents died while there were headed to a performance. After that Gabrielle rejects music. I wanted to read this story because of the music tie in but I never connected with the character.

This is my opinion only and someone else might really connect with the book. I just felt like the author kept me at a distance and never drew me in.

I will say Laurel (the author) has some great visuals and metaphors in the book, I love the words she choose, I just felt like something was missing.

Oh, and there a is a bit of language in the book, so depending on what you allow your teen to read you should know that ahead of time. I was surprised by that, I don’t think I have ever read Christian fiction that had a curse word.

Again, my opinion only. You might want to check it out for yourself and see what you think.

To order from Amazon click here.

To order from Barnes and Noble click here.

To order from  click here.

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


Write to the Point Roger Bruner June 20, 2012

Congratulations to H.A. Titus our winner from last week’s giveaway.

This week we get write to the point with Roger Bruner.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

Melissa, I’m a Preacher’s Kid. Although I was born in Miami, we lived there only a few months after my birth. I grew up in Virginia and North Carolina—if at age sixty-five I dare to claim I’ve grown up—and I ended up living in Maryland for quite a few years starting with my college years. I started out as an English teacher (back when ninth grade was still “junior high”), then worked as a job counselor/interviewer at the Maryland State Job Service, and finally moved to Richmond, Virginia, where I still live, to work as a programmer at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I’ve always been a writer (or so it seems)—poems, short stories, dramatic monologs, short plays, and songs—I sing and play guitar, too. But it wasn’t until the IMB downsized me and I ended up with a part-time job at Target—it helped pay the bills—that I found the time to write my first novel. I made the mistake of self-publishing for a number of reasons, none of which turned out to be as good as I thought at the time.

Only after starting to consume writing books by the dozen and attending a minimum of  one Christian writers conference yearly did I begin to see what an awful job I’d done on that self-published book. So I pretend it doesn’t exist anymore—fortunately, fewer than 150 copies exist. The progress from that point has seemed slow at times, but I’ve always sensed that it was very God-directed.

I’m married now to Kathleen; this year makes nine wonderful years. I have a twenty-five-year-old daughter, Kristi, who now has a husband and young son. And two talented step-daughters who are a bit older than Kristi. None of them lives close to us, unfortunately. We love our privacy, though, so maybe the distance between us isn’t totally unfortunate.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I wish I could give you a Saul-to-Paul conversion story, but I can’t. Growing up as I did in a Christian home, I considered myself a Christian from a very early age. Making my commitment public was something else, though; I had a severe fear of the water, and the very thought of baptism put me into a panic. As a pre-teen, however, I finally let God overcome that fear enough to make a public profession of faith and be baptized.

I can’t say that my life changed much immediately after that—not until the eighth grade, when I came down with acute viral encephalitis and almost died. The doctors told my parents that—even if I survived—I might end up as just a vegetable. During my non-vegetative recovery, my parents told me about all the people who’d been praying for me. I realized that God had performed a very personal miracle on my behalf, and I consider that the beginning of my real growth as a Christian.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

I have two published books—Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams. Both came out last year as the beginning of a proposed series called Altered Hearts. Unfortunately, Barbour Publishing decided not to continue with its Young Adult line, so my series died prematurely—much to the disappointment of many of its readers, I might add.

Both books are from the point of view of a spoiled eighteen-year-old named Kim, and both involve mission trips—one to Mexico and one to the mountains of northern California. It was fun seeing Kim grow and mature, and I think the lessons about forgiveness and the importance of relying on God are huge take aways from both novels.

I have a contract pending on a very humorous mid-life romance—the working title is The Lady & the Impractical Jokester, but my agent is also shopping an inspirational novel called The Devil & Pastor Gus, which is one of my favorites; it’s a modern day cross between the story of Job and one of the many tales about someone selling his soul to the devil and then trying to get out of it. I’ve recently completed a novel for teen boys—teen girls will like it, too, however. Misfits seriously challenges teens to look at themselves and learn to accept themselves as they are—and as God does.

For my local readers (you know who you are) I have seen Roger’s books at Sounds of Light if you wanted to pick one up and give them a little business.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I have to smile at this question, because I have three blogs. “Have had” is more accurate. I do have one active one, however. I post to “As I Come Singing” twice a week. It has a very specific purpose: to offer original song lyrics for other writers to use in their writing at no cost.

Although my followers are few so far, I think it will catch on eventually. Most writers can’t afford to pay to quote other peoples’ song lyrics in their books. While practically nobody has ever heard of my songs, that doesn’t mean they might not find something appropriate to borrow—or even adapt.

Incidentally, I got the idea for this blog when I ended up using some of my own lyrics in my two published novels.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

Oh, man, Melissa, you ask some tough questions. *L* Not tough because I don’t have favorites, but because I’m not sure I can limit myself to “a favorite.” Even though I’ve never written suspense, I especially enjoy books by DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Al Gansky, and—most recently—an Australian author, Martin Roth, whose books are available at Amazon for almost nothing.

Then again, I’ve also enjoyed some of Ted Decker’s books (just finished The Bride Collector), and I will automatically buy any new book by Jim Rubart.

Not everything I read is suspense, though. I occasionally read a women’s book (especially by Deb  Raney, whom I once told that she writes women’s books that even a man can enjoy) or romantic suspense. Christy Barritt is not just a friend, but a delightful writer. I. . .

Okay, you don’t have to keep flashing that light, Melissa. I can see I’ve overshot this answer and need to let you ask me another question.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

That’s an easy one. It’s something I’ve already alluded to. My downsizing from the IMB could have been the worst disaster of my life, especially considering I had felt “called” to work there and wouldn’t have left willingly.

But at the beginning of what turned out to be my last year there, I was assigned to a project I just never really caught onto. I tried awfully hard, but my job performance was headed further and further downhill.

So the downsizing provided a release from that suffering. I view it now as God’s way of setting me free. And who knows when or whether I would ever have written that first novel, otherwise?

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

Although a number of writers have a verse they quote when doing a book signing, I don’t. John 3:16 says it all, of course, but Romans 8:28 is probably my favorite verse otherwise. And not just because it’s a verse I can locate in the Bible.

Where can we find you on the web?

All over the place! *laughing* My website is There, you can not only learn more about my books, but sample the unpublished manuscripts and see some of my other writing. You can also see some of my favorite photographs and listen to some of my songs. My active blogsite is “,” but you can also get there from the “Blogs” tab on my website.

Although I have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts and respond to anyone who posts to me there, I tend to ignore the social media in general—it just takes too much time to keep up with.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

Having the freedom to write full-time is a real blessing. While the little bit of extra income is nice, that’s not my purpose in writing. I believe God has given me something to say—I communicate much better in writing than I do verbally—and I pray daily for my readers. That each one may receive the message God has for him or her. . .and that God will lead His desired choice of readers to my books.

Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog today. I hope I haven’t been too longwinded. *G*

Thank you Roger. My readers always love hearing from authors. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Readers, Roger will give away your choice of either book in paperback or both books in e-book for Kindle. Just leave him a comment by June 26 at 5:00 PM and you will be entered to win.