Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Nightingale by Susan May Warren (AND a CONTEST!)

A synopsis of Nightingale from the author's website:

NightingaleNightingale Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancĂ©—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion. Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he? Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I love books that are set during World War II. There's just something appealing about that era that draws my attention and when I see a new book with that setting I want to know more about it. I often find myself wishing I could have lived during the 1940's so that I could be a part of the "bonding" that our country experienced during that time. It seems war binds a country's peoples together like nothing else can. I wouldn't want to live in a war, however, so that's what actually stops me from wishing it too much. But wouldn't it be nice if we could have one without the other?

I like the way this author presented the story of Esther and Peter. She had made mistakes, but Peter understood the grace of redemption and told Esther of it while she struggled with her guilt.

The secret that Peter had was quite surprising. I learned a lot about some of the aspects of WWII I didn't know before. I also enjoyed the relationship that Esther had with her daughter, Sadie, and the sacrifices she made for her. 

There were times that the story did not flow as well as I like, but it did not take away from the overall satisfaction of reading a sweet tale of love and deliverance. I saw real characters with real problems and even though this may be considered by some as a "fluffy" book, I recommend it to all.

I give Nightingale 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
(I received this book from LitFuse for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. All opiniions expressed are completely my own,)

Now.....for the CONTEST! Susan is giving away a Flip HD Camcorder! Here's how to enter:

The Letters From Home Giveaway!

Enter the Contest: Nightingale is about letters, the power of written correspondence to convey thoughts and emotions to those far away. And sometimes near. Letters are forever, they are something we savor and pull out to read again and again. They are often cherished and kept in a special place.

To celebrate the release of Nightingale, Susan would like you to write a letter. One grand prize winner will receive a Flip HD Camcorder. 5 runner's up winners will win a signed copy of Nightingale. There are two ways to enter the contest by writing letters.

1. Write a letter to a soldier. At the end of the contest we’ll print out and mail your letter for you.

2. Write a letter to a friend, loved one, family member, enemy. Tell them something you wished you’d told them before. Tell them you love them, or maybe how they touched your life. Perhaps an apology is in order or a thank you. Or perhaps you'd like to relate a funny tale or just share life. Whatever it is, submit it here along with your email address and we’ll send it for you.

Enter here or at the SHARE page on the Brothers in Arms website.
(Contest ends December 2nd. Winner announced December 6th.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Hooks

I have been reading other's blogs about what things draw us to the fiction books we read. I like this idea, so I decided to write my own list of "book hooks":

1. Libraries/librarians - If there is a character in a book who is a librarian, I look further.

2. The beach - I love going to the beach, so I like reading about the beach (any beach!).

3. A murder/crime scene - I am fascinated by psychotic minds, so books about killers and what motivates them are quite interesting to me.

4. Books - If the main character is a reader, I (of course) can identify strongly with him/her.

5. Redemption - Books with a redemptive theme catch my eye. This does not always have to be someone's conversion (for example, Christian salvation), but if the character/situation is "redeemed" in the end, I am most satisfied.

6. Writers - Writers, just like librarians and readers, make good characters (maybe this is because I am all three of these).

7. American Civil War - I have been intrigued by this time period since I was in grade school. Gone With the Wind used to be my favorite movie.

8. World War II - This time period is my second favorite. I'm not sure why.

9. Scrapbooking - I have not found many books that include scrapbooking in the plot (although I did enjoy the Sisters, Ink series by Rebeca Seitz).

10. Christian characters - I like this ONLY if the characters are real people with real problems, not some stereotype whose life is always "perfect".

This is only a partial list, but I'll share some more at another time. In the meantime, what are your "book hooks"? What is it about a book's plot/characters that make you want to pick it up and read? And, now that you know mine, what books do you recommend for me to read? I'd love to hear from you!

Other blogger's book hooks:

Word Lily likes coffee, knitting....
Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) likes journalists, feminism....
Ms. Bookish likes detectives, museums....
Stella Matutina likes family, ghosts....
Book Nut likes photography, France....
Magistramater likes homesteading , Scotland....

(Thanks to Semicolon for this idea and the list of other bloggers)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Helping People Change

I hope I haven't lost readers because of my neglect of this blog lately. I've had trouble with getting internet access. So, until I get this straightened out, I'll have to stop promising so much and just do what I can and when I can.

Today, I want to share with you some great resources I have discovered lately for people who want to help others in their quest for change. These are Christian authors who have helped me on the road to change and in my efforts at learning how to help others in the counseling process. I hope you find a few you may want to read in order to help yourself and the people with whom you come into contact.

How People Change1. How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp - If you want just one book on the whole idea of how to make a change in your life or how to help others change, this would be the one. It has sound, biblical teaching on why we do what we do and how we must go about growing and maturing in Christ.

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives)2. Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands - This book is probably the one in which I have highlighted the most text. I think it has been the most instrumental in my life to make me want to help others in their walk with God. I am now seeking to learn more in order to counsel others in God's Word. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about counseling other people biblically. 

A Theology of Christian Counseling: More Than Redemption3. A Theology of Christian Counseling: More Than Redemption by Jay Adams - This was part of the required reading I have done for a counseling class I am in right now. It, too, has a lot of highlighted parts and, although it was a little slower reading than some others I have read, it is packed with so much wisdom. It should be an essential part of every biblical counselor's bookshelf.   

Blame It on the Brain?: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience (Resources for Changing Lives)4. Blame It On the Brain? by Ed Welch - I have just a few more chapters to go on this one for my class. If you have wondered about what causes people to do sinful things, whether it be the brain or our corrupt hearts, then you may be fascinated with this book, as I have been. The author explains how there are some disorders that may be caused by brain dysfunctions and some that are not. He says, "Sometimes it is legitimate to blame our misbehaviors on the brain, and sometimes it isn't. How can we know?" He attempts to answer this question in this book.

Along the way in my search for understanding the human condition and how we can change, I have come across other books that I have not yet read, but they are now on my TBR list. Since these have been recommended to me by reliable sources, I am confident in sharing them with you:

          Totally Sufficient     Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict     What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

         Maximum Impact: Living and Loving for God's Glory    Running Scared: Fear, Worry & the God of Rest      Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change

         Relationships: A Mess Worth Making    Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting      Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments     

I hope you find some great new resources from this list. Let me know if you read any of these. I'd like to hear how you like/don't like them.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays is a meme from Should Be Reading, where we answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What do you think you'll read next? If you want to participate, answer the three questions, then put your link on the Should Be Reading Blog in the comment section. Happy reading!

             The Killing Storm (Sarah Armstrong)     If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil     Nightingale

What I am currently reading: The Killing Storm by Kathryn Casey - This one is set in Houston, where I lived for a few years, so that makes it a little more interesting. I am intrigued by the plot of a child kidnapping combined with a coming hurricane. I remember living through a few hurricanes myself. It can be pretty frightening.

I am also reading If God is Good by Randy Alcorn - I will be reviewing this book for Waterbrook Multnomah in about a month. It is a long book and the kind that you don't want to rush, so it will be a while before I am finished. Very good so far!

What I recently finished readingNightingale by Susan May Warren - This novel, published by Summerside Press, was a satisfying read. I will be reviewing it on November 29.    

What I'll probably read next: God Loves Single Moms by Teresa Whitehurst - This one is from Revell and I will review it sometime next week.

I also want to read Glass Castles by Jeannette Wells - I have heard so much good about this book and it has been on my TBR list for quite a while. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I hope you are all having some enjoyable reads. Please share with us what you have been reading.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coming Up This Week

I have had a lot of trouble this past week getting internet access, so I hope that what I promise you today will actually happen. I will do my best to post the following this week:

Tuesday: I'm not sure if I'll be able to post tomorrow. I'll try.

Wednesday: The usual "WWW Wednesday" where I tell you what I am reading, what I just finished reading, and what I plan on reading next.

Thursday: A post on books I am thankful for (books that have had an affect on my life in a positive way).

Friday: One or two reviews of books I have enjoyed in the past and would probably read again if I had the time.

Saturday: The post I promised last week about great counseling books I have read and some new ones I have discovered recently that are now on my TBR list.

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you will return this week for all the fascinating content. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Giveaway at Word Vessel this month!

Just wanted to give you a head's up about a great book giveaway going on at Word Vessel during the month of November. Cathy is giving away copies of her book, A Path Less Traveled. Here's more info:

A Path Less TraveledABOUT THE BOOK:

Trish James is tired of being rescued. When a spooked horse claims her husband's life, she’s determined to blaze a path for herself and her traumatized son without outside help. But will that mean leaving the place etched on her heart?

Andy Tyler has had to struggle for everything, and starting a new law practice in Miller's Creek, Texas is no different. Though prepared for business challenges, he's not prepared for falling in love--especially with yet another woman who will probably abandon him for her career.

Will Andy and Trish be able to see past their limited human understanding to take . . . A Path Less Traveled?

To read the first chapter:


"This book was totally and completely enjoyable to read. I received the book on Friday and finished reading it on Sunday. I could hardly put it down. The storyline is very well written and grabbed my attention in the first chapter and never let me go....One of my favorite lines in the book is this: 'God doesn't waste any hurt you endure, Trish. What he allows into your life--even something as painful as Doc's death--He'll use for the days ahead...' I believe this is so true and have seen it played out in my life. I love it when I can read a really good fiction book and learn more about my relationship with Christ. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story to read. I can't wait until Book 3 in the series comes out next year." ~Cathy at Tales of the TCKK Family

"...Cathy Bryant weaves an amazing story. She has a maturity in her writing skill that astounds me for only having two published novels. A Path Less Traveled is a must read. Cathy realistically captures the struggle of the heart." ~ Linnette at Linnette's Writing Corner


Cathy Bryant is a former public school teacher who handed in her chalk for a private music studio and writing career. Her passion is to write heart-stirring stories that show God’s life-changing grace. Cathy is the owner of the popular blog, WordVessel, and has written devotions for The Upper Room magazine, two devotional books, and online devotional sites. She’s the wife of a music minister, the mother of two grown sons and a beautiful daughter-in-love, and the Nana of Harrisen. A Texas gal since birth, she lives in a century-old Texas farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat.

Texas Roads (her debut novel and a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist) released in March 2010. The second Miller’s Creek novel, A Path Less Traveled, was launched in November 2010. The Way of Grace will be available in 2011.

Visit her website at


Print Edition
Print Edition ~ Amazon
Kindle Edition ~ Amazon
Other eBook Editions (including online reading, iPad, Nook, Sony reader, & PDF)

CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY DRAWINGS OF A PATH LESS TRAVELED (a Miller's Creek novel) AT WordVessel (only through November 30, 2010)