Book Review: The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

About the Book

Title: The Nature of Small Birds
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Genre: Women’s Christian Fiction
Publisher: Revell, 368 pages
Release Date: July 6, 2021

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

Read an excerpt here.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women’s events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.

Connect with Susie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Bookbub | Goodreads


My Review

The Nature of Small Birds
By Susie Finkbeiner
Rating: 3.5/5

“It’s the nature of small birds to sing their hearts out. And it’s the nature of God to hear them.”

As someone who is a third generation Chinese-American, I was super interested in the story when I read about it. I was unfamiliar with Operation Babylift and wanted to know more. However, as I continued to read the story, I found myself getting confused by the jumping around in perspectives and timelines. It was clearly labeled by chapter but it was harder for me to track. While I found parts of the story really interesting, there were a lot of other parts that did not keep my attention. I struggled with wanting to like the book but wanting to be honest about how the book lacked making an impact on me. The book has some great quotes but it did not connect with me as much as I was thinking it would. The story seems well written and thought out but I just didn’t enjoy it the way I thought I would. 

“Sometimes the dreams of the young were replaced by those they never could have dared to imagine.
It didn’t mean that one dream was better than another. They were just different.”

This book is a story about family and what it means to bring a little child into your home who doesn’t share your culture and language and the journey to becoming one family. It’s a beautiful picture of adoption and the love that grows out of that choice. Does it have its flaws? Yes, but it still resonates with some heartfelt truths which make it worth reading. 

Recommend if you enjoy books that alternate perspectives and timelines and tell a family’s story.

My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received. 

Book Review: Plot Twist by Bethany Turner

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Plot Twist
By Bethany Turner
Rating: 4/5
Release date: June 15, 2021

Since I was such a huge fan of Bethany Turner’s books, I was so excited to receive an advanced reader copy of Plot Twist. The title and cover and description just got me. I was excited to dive into another romantic comedy.

When aspiring screenwriter Olivia Ross meets an interesting and struggling actor at a coffee shop, she forgets to get his name despite agreeing to meet back in ten years. Each year, Liv finds some coincidence or another that makes February 4th stand out. When Liv figures out who that actor from the coffee shop was, she begins to keep track of his career as she struggles to finish her screenplay. What’s more real – her writing or her actual personal life? Can the glamour of Hollywood even compare to romance in real life?

I laughed. I cringed in embarrassment. I was giddy with excitement at the ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining book. I can understand why there were some negative reviews because the style is so different than her other books but I don’t think it deserves the harsh comments. I will say that I was a bit disappointed that the book was more a clean romcom than a Christian romcom. However, I always love all the pop culture that Bethany includes in her stories. The resurgence of “MFEO” is now inevitable. If you know, you know.

Moving the story from year to year – snapshot to snapshot- started off entertaining but ten years seemed a little too long. I wanted more growth from Liv. But then a part would pull me back in until I thought I had guessed the plot twist.

Highly recommend if you enjoy hilarious, clean romantic comedies with some modern day glitz and mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Bethany Turner has been writing since the second grade, when she won her first writing award for explaining why, if she could have lunch with any person throughout history, she would choose John Stamos. She stands by this decision. Bethany now writes pop culture-infused rom-coms for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. She lives in Southwest Colorado with her husband, whom she met in the nineties in a chat room called Disco Inferno. As sketchy as it sounds, it worked out pretty well in this case, and they are now the proud parents of two teenagers. Connect with Bethany at seebethanywrite.com or across social media @seebethanywrite, where she clings to the eternal dream that John Stamos will someday send her a friend request. Text her any time at (970) 387-7811.

Connect with Bethany: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube


More from the Author

Read my review of Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish here.

Book Review: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

A Dance in Donegal
By Jennifer Deibel
Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

What a lovely story! It’s been awhile since I’ve been taken back to Ireland and I was not disappointed. Not only does this historic romance hit all the spots but there’s some mystery thrown in that had me guessing till the reveal.

Moira Doherty grew up listening to stories about dancing at the halla in Ireland from her mother, and after the death of her mother, Moira is hired to start teaching in the town her mother grew up in. An American to her core, Moira must navigate the differences in rural living with her city upbringing and their superstitious beliefs with her spiritual ones. However, the more she grows to enjoy her time in the quirky village, the more she begins to feel out of place except when she’s with one man, Sean McFadden. The townspeople treat her poorly and gossip about her because of her mother. Can Moira discover the truth about what happened and find a way to save her reputation?

There’s so much more to this story than on the surface. The characters are ones I’d loved to visit again. They made me laugh, cry and want to throw things. As someone who always tries to give someone the benefit of the doubt, I struggled with some of the characters. Other characters were amazing examples of how God loves us and chooses us. Lots of tears were shed near the end (but I’m a crier lol).

Note: there’s a glossary at the end to help with all the Gaelic.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical romance with a hint of mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Price of Valor by Susan May Warren

The Price of Valor
by Susan May Warren
Book 3 in the Global Search and Rescue series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 6, 2020

Susan May Warren never disappoints! If you need some romantic suspense and mystery in your life, read this book! I highly recommend reading the first two books in this series before reading this third one because you’ll understand so much more. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary but you’ll be better acquainted with the characters and the background.

Hamilton Jones and Signe Kincaid grew up as childhood sweethearts but life and their careers took them away from each other. When Ham realizes that his wife is alive and they have a daughter, he knew nothing would stop him from trying to find out the truth. Signe is a CIA operative who’s been in deep cover for years and hopes to save some lives including her daughter’s. Ham is hurt and angry and trying to build a relationship with his daughter who he missed growing up. He desperately wants to believe and forgive Signe for all that she did but he is unsure. Can he trust his wife or will he lose everything he’s sought to protect?

The author has a couple stories going on at once – which is why I recommend reading the other books so you can get more background on the other couple. The story deals with disasters near and far and I always enjoy how everything comes together at the end. The author is so clever in her craft and I can’t wait to read more from her. 

Throughout the book there is a message of faith and forgiveness. Signe feels so much shame for her past and finds it hard to accept forgiveness. She and Ham both have lots of baggage from their pasts and while Ham stayed faithful, Signe had strayed without Ham there to guide her. I can only imagine the psychological ramifications of maintaining a deep cover while keeping oneself relevant and sane. Compartmentalizing becomes your friend. I love when authors deal with real-life issues in an organic way.

I also loved seeing characters from other series that the author has written. That was a lot of fun!

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of romantic suspense and high stakes espionage.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.