Category Archives: Book Nook

Book Review: “Arms of Love”

Arms of Love by: Kelly Long

Arms of Love by: Kelly Long

Kelly Long is one of the “Amish fiction” authors I enjoy.  I have reviewed some of her works before, such as Lilly’s Wedding Quilt found in the Book Nook section here on my blog.  Luckily for me, my most recent book from was Long’s Arms of Love.

Here is the book description for Arms of Love:

The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.

Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.

Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.

Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.

I found Arms of Love to be a good read for a snowy winter’s day — the kind of book you can curl up in a chair with along with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a warm blanket.  At first I thought the story was going to be very predictable.  It seemed like it was going to be the typical Amish story: two people who want to be together and start a family but can’t because of some problem or rule that is keeping them apart; something changes the situation; and then in the end they end up being able to get married after all and life is good.  Long keeps her readers interested in the story and entertained throughout.  She keeps the reader guessing whether or not Adam Wyse will enlist with the war effort.  Then there is the problem of whether or not Adam and Lena will be able to marry; along with the twist that Lena and Adam’s brother, Isaac, are to be wed instead in order to keep Adam away from Lena (or so Adam’s father hopes for reasons of his own).

But Long doesn’t leave the reader with this one basic plot line. Amidst the turmoil of heartache and mystery between Adam and Lena’s situation,  the author keeps the reader involved with the lives of the other significant characters in the story: the wet nurse, Ruth; Lena’s father, Samuel; and Lena’s brother, John.  Long let’s us see into their lives and hearts as well so that we can immurse ourselves even more into the story, the Yoder and Wyse families, and the Amish life in general — one of the many reasons why I enjoy reading her literary works.

If you have previously read books by Kelly Long, or have an interest in Amish fiction, I encourage you to add this to your casual reading list.  It’s a “feel good” kind of book that keeps you involved in the story and the lives of the characters.  Arms of Love will keep you interested with a story that keeps you going from cover to cover!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Book Nook


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Book Review: “The Christmas Note”

Now that I finally have things mostly unpacked and have somewhat settled in to a bit of a daily routine, I have finally been able to tackle my stack of books to read!

"The Christmas Note" by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere,  is a delightful little read for not just the Christmas season, but for anytime during the year.

Here is the book’s description:

From the author of The Christmas Shoes comes a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women, but one that will change each of their lives forever.

Gretchen McCray has recently moved into an apartment with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. She and her children are building a life together in a new community when a mysterious young woman, Melissa Summit, moves into the apartment next to them. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself.

One day, a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home.

There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers she has a brother and a sister that she never knew about. Even more shocking, she begins to uncover family secrets that show her who she really is.

Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

I found this book to be a nice, easy read and enjoyed the ending the best.  I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone, only because at times it seemed to drag on a bit. I think the author was mainly able to keep my interest via the writing the story through the eyes of either Melissa or Gretchen with each new chapter.  After sticking with it and reading this book over the course of a few evenings while relaxing with a nice cup of tea, some of the – what others might consider to be – “boring” details showed their significance once the story came to a close. If you are stuck in the house due to a snow fall and want to curl up with something to read and a cup of something warm to drink, I would recommend this book.  If you are looking for something that will keep you on edge with the constant questioning of “what’s going to happen next?” — then I suggest you read something else. Otherwise, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, I give this book either a 6 or a 7.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Book Nook


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Book Review: “When You Don’t See His Plan — The Nadine Hennesey Story”

Life was wonderful until Nadine Hennesey lost her best friend, her husband, suddenly on the day of their daughter’s birth.  It seemed like the path they had planned for their lives together had broken apart and left Nadine floundering in the dust and broken road that remained.  Now a single mother, Nadine had to decide whether or not to follow through with hers and Ed’s dream be servants of God on the mission field. What to do… what to do?

Nadine decided to give God an ultimatum in order to convince her and help her see what path(s) she should take.  After all, it wasn’t just her anymore, Nadine had her baby girl to love and raise in the process.  Little did she know God’s plan would lead her to another country where she could teach and minister to those children and families, and mothers like herself.  Such an inspirational story!  Nadine’s strength and passion for teaching grows throughout what I consider to be a great read!  It helps you to “discover how you can trust God, even when you don’t see His plan.”

If you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read, I definitely recommend ”When You Don’t See His Plan — The Nadine Hennesey Story” by Nadine Hennesey and Rebecca Baker.  With each challenge and triumph that came Nadine’s way, I was eager to get back to reading to see how things turned out and how her faith in God helped her through it!

If you read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!  Just leave a comment at the end of this post!


** “When You Don’t See His Plan — The Nadine Hennesey Story” was given to me by Discovery House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion and a review of this book/product.  The opinions and such expressed in this post are my own and were not influenced by the authors, publishers or anyone else affiliated with this product.


Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Book Nook


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Friday Featured Product! ~ “50 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Husband” ~

Here is my latest “Friday Featured Product” —— on a Monday! Haha!

Have you heard of or met Christian author, entrepreneur and mom MariLee Parrish?  If you haven’t, then you should (even if it’s just through social media).  I’ve had the privilege of getting to know MariLee over the past 2 years and look forward to working with and getting to know her more for many years to come. 

MariLee Parrish

Recently, MariLee has added another book to her list of published works titled 50 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Husband — and I LOVE it!!  It’s not the kind of quirky book compiled of lame date ideas or religious jargon.  Instead, it is as delightfully simple and lovely as its cover.

 The book is broken up into 5 sections that focus on ways to improve Spiritually, Emotionally, Romantically and with Your Surroundings.  Within each section are the tips that follow under that category.  MariLee then goes on to give a little insight about each tip with a coinciding Bible verse, an action point, a scripture segment to remember, and a checklist for improvement. 

At the end of each section, MariLee included an area so you can record your own thoughts and notes of reflection, something I thought was a nice touch and helpful addition.  But that’s not all! MariLee gives a list of additional scriptures to remember ranging from communication and faith to finances and God’s love.  There is also an index in the back so you can easily locate your favorite scripture verses hi-lighted within the readings.

I really enjoyed this book.  I think it would make a great bridal shower gift too!  If you would like to check out more on this book or MariLee Parrish, then visit any of the links I have listed below!

MariLee’s Website

MariLee Parrish on Facebook

“Picking Up My Socks” Blog

THANK YOU MariLee for my signed copy of 50 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Husband!

Disclosure: Please note that I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review that contained my honest opinion of this product.  The opinions shared in this post are my own and were in no way influenced by the author or publishing company associated with this book. 

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Book Review: A River to Cross

"A River to Cross" by: Yvonne Harris

I grew up watching old-time Westerns, and if there were a list consisting of books that could be turned into good Westerns, then A River to Cross should be on that list. Written by Yvonne Harris, A River to Cross is a casual read that kept me interested from start to finish.


Set in the late 1800’s, this story of love and trust takes place in Texas along the Rio Grande.  Elizabeth Evans, daughter of a U.S. Senator and sister to a newspaper editor, finds herself kidnapped by a Mexican general and taken away across the United States – Mexican border.  Fearful for her life, Elizabeth’s prayers are answered when she is rescued by Jake Nelson, a Texas Ranger.  But the story doesn’t end there for the general, Manuel Diego, isn’t about to let her go without a fight.  Not to mention, while Jake is busy keeping Elizabeth safe, he finds himself remembering his past and starts trusting in Elizabeth and in the possibilities of the future — something he had not been able to do nor would have considered doing previously.  And he’s not the only one.  Elizabeth finds herself gaining the strength to move on from her past love and fears of falling in love again with a man of the military.  Read this book to find out how love and trust are regained by both of these heartbroken and guarded Christians.


I found this book to be an enjoyable read — the kind of book that I can curl up with in a comfy chair and read while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.  Classified as historical fiction, A River to Cross, made me feel like I was watching an old-time Western rather than reading a book.  The setting, characters and plot were easy to digest and didn’t contain a lot of unnecessary “fluff” like some books have.  So if you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read, I’d recommend adding this book to your list!


Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Book Nook


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Book Review: Hermie, a Common Caterpillar

Are you a Max Lucado fan?  Looking for a book that will help your child learn that being “common” is not so bad after all?  Then Hermie, a Common Caterpillar by Max Lucado is a nice book to share with them!

Hermie, a Common Caterpillar

Here is the description I was given to use as part of my review:

“This Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends® best-selling story now available in easy-to-read format!

Hermie and his friend Wormie have always felt common. They don’t have stripes or dots, they aren’t very strong, and they can’t find anything special about themselves. But every time they pray, God tells them that He loves them all the time just as they are and that He isn’t finished with them yet. When Hermie becomes a beautiful butterfly, he realizes just how special God’s plan is for him!

This classic story has been revised for kids to read and enjoy on their own as a Lever 2 Reader. With fresh new art and a story kids can read themselves, plus a new, low price—this classic story will find a whole new generation of kids who love Hermie and his garden friends!”


I read this book to my 3-year-old son to get his feedback on it.  He was drawn immediately to the book’s colorful illustrations.  The story’s vocabulary and simple story line was easy for him to understand, and he even volunteered questions as we read through it.  He told me that his favorite part was “when Hermie turned into a big, big butterfly”.  I enjoyed the fact that my son was able to connect easily to the characters, as well as the lesson that we are all special because God loves us and has a plan and purpose for every one of us.  My son also suggested that we get the other Hermie books, and I couldn’t agree more!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone with small children, or a Sunday school class!  It has such a powerful and important message that all of us can relate to and share!  And remember, God “isn’t done with with you yet!”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Book Nook


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Book Review: Healing Hearts

"Healing Hearts" by: Beth Wiseman

Hello, fellow readers!  Here is another review of a collection of Amish fiction for you! This time, I was able to review Beth Wiseman’s Healing Hearts, a collection of 3 stories previously published in An Amish Christmas, An Amish Gathering, and An Amish Love.

The first story, A Choice to Forgive, centers around mother and widow – Lydia Smucker. Lydia has loved two men in her life. Daniel, who disappeared one Christmas Eve long ago, leaving only a note saying he wanted to live in the Englisch world. And Elam, Daniel’s brother, to whom she had been happily married for 15 years. When Elam dies, Lydia gives up on ever loving again. But she is shocked when Daniel wants to return to the Order and her life.  Daniel is finally able to make known to Lydia the truth about what happened that Christmas Eve in hopes that she can and will at least forgive him.  I will not tell you if she does or not, because that would ruin the outcome of the story for you.  However, I will tell you that the story reminds all of us how important trust, honesty and forgiveness are in our lives.  They just might mean the difference between which path our lives take and lead.

A Change of Heart is the second novella included in the collection. Leah is a writer in a community that does not encourage such fruitless endeavors. She lacks the skills necessary to be a good Amish fraa. Aaron knows these things about Leah, but his heart is captured by this spirited young woman. See how Leah’s stories influence the people around her, and touch some hearts close to her in unexpected ways!

“Healing Hearts” Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman are alone for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman left to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina wasn’t expecting him to be gone a year. Now that he’s back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and fall in love again? Even though the story focuses mostly on Levina and Naaman’s marriage and the trials and attempts to get it working again, I found it interesting how Naaman’s visit away from wife and kinner had and would impact the lives of so many people.  This story is not just a reminder of how love and trust are important aspects of a strong marriage and family.  Healing Hearts also reminds readers that God has a purpose for events and things that we do with our lives, even though such things are not understood at the time they happen.


I don’t want to add too much more to the summaries listed above in case I accidentally give away the endings for those of you interested in reading Healing Hearts.  I was drawn into reading all 3 stories as soon as I started each one.  I hope that you will be too if you choose to read this book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in 2 days.

 Once again, Beth Wiseman demonstrates through this collection of stories how well she writes and shares such aspects as love, trust, forgiveness and Faith with her readers.  She’s definitely one of the top Amish fiction authors on my reading list!  I’m glad I chose this book to read and review!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Blogging, Book Nook


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