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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Love’s Awakening

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Title: Love’s Reckoning
Series: The Ballantyne Legacy
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 17, 2013
Pages: 416

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Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school in the spring of 1822 and returns to her family home in Pittsburgh. When she arrives home, she finds that her parents are away and her siblings don’t seem like they want her around. Determined to stay as find her place in the world, Ellie opens a day school for young ladies. She has no idea what her school will lead to or how it will effect her future.

Jack Turlock isn’t glad about the sea of his sister going to a day school, in fact he’s out right opposed to it, especially with the school being run by none other than Ellie Ballantyne. With slaveholder a and whiskey magnates as a calling card, Jack knows that Ellie could never be involved with someone like him. His father is a sworn enemy of Silas Ballantyne and is envious of his power and suspicious of his abolitionist leanings. If only Jack could stop thinking about something that will never be.

When Ellie gets the opportunity to teach Jack’s little sister she takes it, not knowing how involved with the Turlocks she will become or how attached to Jack she will get. When life seems to try and rip them apart Ellie must make a critical decision to either pick her family or cross enemy lines and side with the enemy, Jack. Jack must also realize that the way that works is God’s way and must find a way to break the chains of his father’s past.

Can Ellie find her place in life or will she be lost and alone forever? Will Jack be able to realize that he isn’t his father or will he carry his guilt to his grave? Can Ellie fall in love with Jack and still keep her family or will she have to choose one or the other? Can Jack find God or will it be over before he has the chance? What will Ellie’s parent’s think when they find out about Ellie’s love for Jack?
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After reading Love’s Reckoning I knew that I would have to read the next in this series and that it would be even better than the first. I was right. This book tugged on heart strings and actually made me cry! I can’t believe the emotions that were packed into this book and the tender yet passionate romance that wrapped around it. I was captivated yet again by the craftsmanship of Laura Frantz and I absolutely can’t wait for Fall 2014 to read the next book in the series.

The romance in this novel was one of the best I’ve read. It combined an emotional connection and some passionate moments and just made the romance seem realistic, heart-tugging, and beautiful. The romance in this book was similar to the first in the sense of theme. They both were about forbidden love, which for some reason captivates and moves us all. I can’t believe how well this romance was put together.

The storyline was impeccable. I got caught up in the story and was disappointed when it was over. It was full of intrigue and suspense, not to mention the awesome romance. It also gave a glimpse into the lives of those that smuggle slaves out of danger. I learned a lot and felt emotions that I very rarely feel from a book and I loved it so much. I absolutely have to read more from Laura Frantz!

The thing I liked most about this book was Ellie. Her character is rich and has always been, has gone to finishing school, and has every extravagance known to man yet she’s a very down to earth character and I loved her. She never came across as spoiled and I never once felt like she felt better than anyone. Because of that her character was very much a lovable character to me and I felt that she had amazing character development and was a strong character despite her appearance.

Laura Frantz captured me again! I’m shocked at how well she put together tis book and got my emotions involved. Any book deserves a great rating if it can make me cry. That’s a fear not many have accomplished. Laura’s impeccable storytelling skills and understanding of human emotion made me never want to put tis book down. This book, series, and author come very highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this book! I don’t even have any complaints about it. I wouldn’t change a thing. Tis book is perfect for someone who wants a historical fiction romance about forbidden love. This book is best left to adults. My rating of this book is five out of five.

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

Welcome To Last Chance

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Title: Welcome To Last Chance
Series: A Place To Call Home
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 1, 2013
Pages: 288

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When Lainie Davis sees that red warning light come on in her car, she thinks nothing of it, until her car breaks down in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. Lainie is determined to find a way to leave this tiny one-horse town any way possible, until she starts to meet the people. These people who call this town their home are way too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life, and with her on the run that can become a problem.

Because she’s stuck in Last Chance for the time being, Lainie finds herself getting to know the colorful residents and integrating herself into the town. The more she does that the more she finds herself drawn to the town and the people, particularly to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Lainie can start to imagine herself staying here but it’s too dangerous and she knows it.

With Lainie growing closer to the people and Ray, she starts to fall in love, but she also starts to feeling an overwhelming sense of danger and she knows her time is limited before her past finds her. She’s not willing to risk being found, but she doesn’t want to leave either. For once her word seems to finally be good, but the arrival of who’s she running from can alter her world forever.

Can Lainie leave Last Chance or will she decide to stay? Will Lainie fall in love with Ray and stay or will they fall apart and make it easy for her to leave? Can Lainie outrun her past or will it catch up to her? What will happen if her past does find her? How will Lainie react to Ray’s secret? Who is chasing Lainie and who is she running from? Can Last Chance be all that Lainie needs or will El Paso be more for her?
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This book captured my eye as soon as I saw the cover and I figured a story about a girl on the run was even better. Add a romance in there and I’m practically jumping up and down ready to dig in. However, my expectations for this book weren’t quite fulfilled and I was a bit disappointed about that. This book was enjoyable but this wasn’t a book that really captured me nor is it one that I would read again.

The story started out pretty good. The urgency and frustration of Lainie’s situation flows through the pages, but as the story progressed the less I felt connected to the character. Also, the sense of urgency about who Lainie’s running from is almost abandoned for most of the book and picked up all of a sudden towards the end, giving it a choppy feel. Because of that, I didn’t love the execution of this story, though I did love the concept.

The romance isn’t my favorite either. I felt that the majority of it was physical and that there wasn’t much emotional growth between Lainie and Ray. Their conversations never really got really deep and it left me feeling like I got left out of a major part of the story. Though I liked the fact that there was kissing in this book, I really wish the author would’ve put more into the emotional side and less on the physical.

The thing I loved most about this story was the unique and overly kind characters that made up Last Chance, New Mexico. Books with characters like this are why I imagine an idyllic life in a small town. These characters are all unique and quirky and just plain lovable. I wish I lived around these loving folks just so I could experience the family-like atmosphere they create with their open and kind ways. This is something g the author did amazingly.

Cathleen Armstrong didn’t “wow” me with this book, but I believe this is a debut for her and as far as a debut goes this is pretty good. The author has a ways to go before her books will top the charts for me but she has amazing potential and I look forward to seeing what she can do. I think in a few books she will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it.

Overall, I didn’t love it. I felt the concept was better than the execution but the lively characters that love in the small town can capture your heart. I think this book is good for people who want a romance with a twist and don’t mind a debut novel to get that. I think this book is best left to the adults, though teens might enjoy this one too. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

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