When The Clouds Roll By

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Title: When The Clouds Roll By
Series: Till We Meet Again
Author: Myra Johnson
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: September 17, 2013
Pages: 352

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Annemarie Kendall, a potter, is ecstatic when the armistice is signed ending World War I. Her fiancée Lt. Gilbert Ballard can finally come home to Hot Springs, Arkansas and marry her. If only his letters made it seem like he wanted to. So, Annemarie isn’t surprised, but still hurt, when Gilbert ends their engagement. Now Annemarie has to try and become who God wants her to be and try and save Gilbert while managing to save her heart from his friend.

Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary has befriended Gilbert to try and uplift his spirits. When, Gilbert breaks it off with Annemarie, Sam tries to convince him he’s making a mistake but he can’t deny that he feels an attraction for her too. But tormented by his decisions and his mistakes and the memories of war, he doesn’t feel worthy for love by Annemarie or God, let alone grace and he needs Annemarie to show him that he does deserve it.

Caught in the middle and confused, Annemarie must make a choice which man she will give her heart to. She also tries to save two men from themselves and it seems like she’s drowning. With Sam and Gilbert’s relationship destroyed over her and her heart broken by Gilbert, all three of them must try and put the war behind them and cling to the only One who can make things okay, God.

Who will Annemarie choose? Will Gilbert change his mind about Annemarie or will he never regret his decision to give her up? Will Sam fall in love with Annemarie despite his attempt to not or will his attempt be successful? Will Sam be able to leave his demons behind and trust in God or will he be tormented do the rest of his life? Will Gilbert be able to be a peace with his circumstances or will he become bitter and spiral downhill?
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Before this one, I had never read a book by Myra Johnson before and, after reason this book, I’m not sure why. I do know, though, that I loved this book and was surprised at the amount of drama and how emotionally charged it was. I’ve never read a love triangle this dramatic before, shockingly. Myra Johnson definitely captured how I imagine a love triangle would play out.

The romance in this book is kind of fast. Though I enjoyed it, there seemed to be something missing, maybe it’s the doubt both of them feel about their feelings or maybe it’s because of the slight lack of deep emotional connections. However, I do think that despite that it was a nice romance and had some very romantic moments that made me go, “aahh”. This romance wasn’t awful or even bad it just wasn’t the best I’ve ever read.

This story is very emotionally driven. It’s full of tears, anger, love, pain, and forgiveness. It really got your emotions involved whether it be pity, empathy, love, joy. I really had strong feelings towards a few characters in this story and because of that I would love to see Mary and Gilbert again in the next book and hopefully see a resolution to their issues and maybe a romance between them? This story was definitely a heart tugged and engaged me front he beginning.

The characters in this story had son real issues to work through during the course of this book. Particularly Sam and Gilbert. Some characters seemed a bit stuff and cardboard-like and had to figure out but the usually weren’t very important to the story and didn’t hurt the story too much. Annemarie’s struggles seemed realistic to me. I mean if I started falling for a guys weeks after I got dumped I question my feelings too. I think the struggles the characters went through were realistic and heart-rending.

Myra Johnson definitely made me a fan. Though this book wasn’t perfect, it was enjoyable and I did enjoy this read. In fact I devoured it and didn’t want to put it down. I don’t know how many books this author has but I intend to see if I can get my hands on any of them. I think this author has a great flair for drama and great storytelling abilities. This book comes highly recommended by me.

Overall, I loved this book though it did have some hitches. I enjoyed how realistic and gritty it was and watching each character coming to the realization that God loves them just as they are. This book is perfect for fans of love triangles, dramas, or WWI novels. This is best left to the adults. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Once Upon A Prince

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Title: Once Upon A Prince
Series: The Royal Wedding
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: May 7, 2013
Pages: 352

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Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a fantastic romance or being treated like a princess. She just wars to marry the man she’s loved for twelve years, but life isn’t going according to her well though out plan. Susanna is left scrambling to rebuild her life when her Marine officer high school sweetheart boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. All her plans are falling apart and that might just be the best thing for her.

Prince Nathaniel came to America to make a speech and hopefully take a little vacation to get away from the stress of royal life, especially since it seems his ailing father won’t get better, leaving him king of an entire country. His family’s tense political situation has chosen his wife for him, so the last thing he expects to find in America is love, but when he meets the lovely Susanna under Lover’s Oak it seems that that is exactly what he’s found.

As they grow closer, Susanna finds out he’s a prince and is shocked but not enough to leave. However, their romance might not be anything but a romance due to a two hundred year old law that doesn’t allow foreigners to marry into the royal family. They try to move on and forget each other, but it’s not that easy and everything seems to change when Susanna gets an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

Can Nathaniel’s and Susanna’s romance become more or will they have to love each other from afar? Will Nathaniel be able to take the throne or will he give it up for Susanna? Will Susanna fall in love again even if the love seems forbidden or will she guard her heart and possibly lose the best thing for her? Is there any way for Nathaniel and Susanna to be together or will law and duty tear them apart for good?
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With all the attention Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have been getting, both in the UK and in the US, it’s no real wonder why this book was created. I will admit to eagerly anticipating Kate and Will’s baby and wondering what they will name him and that was why I was so excited to get the opportunity to read this one. I think every girl has had their dreams of marrying a prince reawakened when William chose to marry a woman with a common background and because of that this book came to fruition and I imagine more will follow it. Though I’m not sure this was the best one to lead the pack.

Though I enjoyed this book and the idea of it, there seemed to be something missing and it wasn’t until I put down the book that I finally realized what it was, a lack of romance! Frankly, I think the two character fell in love way too soon and the romance in general felt a bit rushed. I find it a bit unrealistic for two characters to fall in love after two weeks of seeing each other.I also felt jilted because most of those two weeks were glossed over leaving me feeling robbed of falling in love alongside the characters and seeing them emotionally connect and slowly fall in love. I felt a total lack of emotion towards the characters because of the rushed feel and I just didn’t really get a chance to get attached to them as a couple.

The storyline was a good idea, but maybe not executed as well as it could have been. The storyline lagged in some areas delving into politics instead of the actual storyline and I felt like that time could’ve been used to develop the romance instead. While I enjoyed the parts that included romance and pushed the story along, a lot of the pages included useless repetitions and boring politics. Though the author tried, this execution wasn’t the best and felt a bit slow.

Despite that, I did like the characters, particularly the small ones that always interject a bit of knowledge or humor into the book. Each character had their own opinions and wisdom to impart on our guarded and scared heroine and love struck prince. Though Nate’s supposed walls weren’t properly represented, I felt like the majority of the characters were perfectly fallible and likable, making this book a much better story to read.

This is my first book by Rachel Haick and I have heard amazing things about her, but I wasn’t amazed or wowed by this book. However, all of these high marks for her writing can’t be wrong so I think I’m going to count this book as an anomaly and keep my eyes and mind open for more of her books. I really want to like this author and I really wanted to like this book but it ended up being a disappointment for me and I hope the author isn’t going to be.

Overall, it lacked romance and it was the only thing about this book that was rushed. I also felt that the story chugged along at a too slow pace and had too much politics about a fake country in it. This book is good for those who like stories about love overcoming social differences. This book is good for teens and adults but not as great for the younger readers in your life. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Lock, Stock, And Over A Barrel

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Title: Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel
Series: Dear Daphne
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: B&H Books
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 316

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Daphne Ballinger, armed with high hopes, lands her dream job at The New York Times. However, it’s not long before writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her failed relationship. It also doesn’t take long before her perception if the big city begins to lose its luster and her opinion of it begins to sour. Because of that she slowly starts to realize that her life needs a change of pace from her usual predictable life. She just doesn’t know how to change anything.

Her life is changed when her beloved Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizable estate to Daphne. She now has a change of pace, but it might not last long wit the strings attached to the estate. Coming home was easy, fulfilling the conditions of the estate, getting married within a year of signing the paperwork, isn’t quite as easy, especially since she has to really fall in love within a year.

With the year deadline looming over her, Daphne only hopes for a year in the house before she has to leave, but with so many bachelors in town it seems only a matter of time before she falls in love with one of them. But Daphne is focusing on her transition and her change of lifestyle then falling in love, along with all the secrets her aunt was hiding and whether she should tell them. But maybe God and her deceased Aunt Dee might have different plans for her life and her time in her small town.

Can Daphne fall in love before the allotted time or will she only get a year in her favorite childhood home? What will daphne do if she fails to me the deadline? What secrets will Daphne discover about her aunt and are there any more to be found? Who will Daphne fall in love with if anyone? Will Daphne find that she enjoys life in her small hometown better than life in the big city or will she miss the lights and luster of New York?
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I’m a huge fan of Melody Carlson’s and because of her popularity it’s a struggle to get any of her books, so I was thrilled to get the chance to review this one. I’m used to reading her young adult novels, so I believe this is my first adult novel by her and I must say that it was a new experience and one that I wouldn’t mind experiencing again.

This novel wasn’t quite what I expected. I didn’t expect it to be a series and I definitely didn’t expect it to end at the point or on the note that it did. I did enjoy this novel, but because my expectations were a bit more exciting and romantic I think I’m a bit disappointed with what I got. However, knowing this is a series eases my disappointment just a bit because I know she has to fall in love at some point.

There really isn’t much romance in this book it’s more of flirting and establishing who Daphne’s options are and there are quite a few. There are at least six different guys that are bachelors and are a possibility. I know I’m rooting for Mick, but maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for an Australian accent. But I have a feeling that I know who the author will pick for Daphne and he’s my second choice. I’m really interested to see how the author navigates half of a dozen men and how she will pick one without disappointing too many people.

The story line of this book isn’t fast paced and isn’t one that’ll keep you up at night but it is one that’s worth reading and I think it holds a lesson all of us single people ought to learn, that we need to look for God for fulfillment instead of the perfect guy or girl. That was my favorite part of the novel because it was an epiphany for Daphne and allowed her to get her priorities straight. It progressed the story nicely and allowed a great finish.

I love this author and though this book was a bit of a disappointment for me and the title sounds better suited to a western, I don’t plan on stopping being this author’s fan and I do plan on reading the next books in this series because I want to know who Daphne ends up with. Though I don’t fully recommend this book I recommend the author’s other books.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment but still a good novel and the start to a good series. I think this book is perfect for those who want more of a serial romance series and not a quick romance read. This book is best left to the adults and possibly older teens. I give this a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*