Monday, September 30, 2013

Pennsylvania Patchwork

Title:  Pennsylvania Patchwork
Author:  Kate Lloyd
Pages:  384
Year:  2013
Publisher:  David C Cook
Esther has returned home after leaving her Amish family behind in Pennsylvania to live a life with Samuel on the West Coast.  Esther and Samuel lived life on the streets for awhile before Samuel ended up being drafted to serve.  Esther settled into a life in Seattle until her husband Samuel came home from the war.  During this time, Esther established herself in business as half-owner of a quilt shop and becoming a mother.
Holly is busy trying to find her way in life as either an Englisher or an Amish woman, one who has three men who seem smitten and determined to court her.  Zach is a veterinarian who first proposed to Holly, but for the longest time didn’t seem to pay her much attention.  Esther’s fiancĂ©, Nathaniel, ran both farms with his brother’s help, though his brother would come and go as the wind blows.  Yet, Armin was attracted to Holly, but he didn’t make time to nurture the relationship either.  Then, one night, Larry shows up with a ring proposing to Holly, whom he met when they were at college.
Woven in the threads of the sequel to Leaving Lancaster are the many choices the characters have made along with repercussions.  Also, some of the main characters are facing choices each day that could impact the future for many people.  One aspect of the novel I most appreciated was how the characters sought the Lord in His Word and through prayer for guidance.  Another quality I appreciated was how a couple of the characters faced their failings straight on, praying never to repeat their mistakes.  Along with those threads was one of extending forgiveness by asking for God’s help to truly do so from the heart.  I loved how the grandmother and granddaughter would challenge each other playfully without Holly becoming disrespectful.  Some choices are hard especially when they differ from what is expected or anticipated by significant others in the characters’ lives.
Personally, I think we all have choices to make each day that we may or may not see the affect of right away, as Esther did in this story.  Like Esther’s personality though sometimes waiting for God’s will to be fulfilled can being trying and emotionally difficult.  I loved the fact that Holly was not pressured to make a life decision based on what her mother was going to do.  In fact, Holly was free to seek the Lord and make her choice.  When she made it, everyone gladly rejoiced for her and knew she was happy.  There is a third book in this series to be published and I can’t wait to see how the author concludes this particular series set in Lancaster, PA!
My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Nurses Secret Suitor

Title:  The Nurse’s Secret Suitor (Eagle Point Emergency #3)
Author:  Cheryl Wyatt
Pages:  217
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Harlequin Love Inspired
Kate Dalton is an ex-military nurse who now works in civilian life as a trauma center nurse.  She finds out at her friends’ masquerade-themed wedding reception that her parents’ marriage of 30 years is ending and her grandfather, who played a major role in her life, is dying.  Kate tries to steel herself as a Dalton never cries, but she is so tired of being strong for everyone.  She needs a shoulder to cry on and a masked man appears to comfort her.  She is able to be vulnerable with this stranger because she knows she will never see him again.  As Kate spends more time with Caleb helping on a fund-raising event, remodeling the lodge’s cabins and taking care of Caleb’s soon-to-be niece, she begins to fall in love with him.  She wants a man in her life who will be around, not one destined to leave.  She has done her stint in the military and she is done with it.  There can be no future with a man like Caleb no matter how much she would like things to be different.
Caleb Landis is home on leave from the military for four months.  He plans to help his sister renovate their lodge cabins as well as attend her wedding.  He also had planned to attend his friends’ wedding, but his flight was delayed so he made it in time for the masquerade reception and bumped into a crying Kate.  He has had a crush on her for forever, but he is her best friend’s brother and she won’t see him as more than a friend.  He begins to romance her after their first encounter disguised as the Benevolent Bandit.  His one goal has always been to enter the Army Rangers to prove wrong the words his dad had uttered to him so long ago about Caleb never amounting to anything as he walked out the door to never return.  Now that Kate is in his life, he wants to be the man in her life.  Can he give up his dream to be a ranger?  Can he let go of his bitterness towards his dad and God?
This story had some good qualities in the romantic gestures of Caleb and Kate’s faith in God, but all-in-all it was boring.  Nothing seemed to happen and the relationship between Kate and Caleb seemed to tread the same ground over and over.  There was no action, suspense and real tension between the two in my opinion.  Smarmy is the word that kept cropping up in my mind as a description.  This was an average book and one I wouldn’t read again.
My rating is 2 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Love's Awakening

Title:  Love’s Awakening (The Ballantyne Legacy #2)
Author:  Laura Frantz
Pages:  396
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Revell
This is the second book in the series with the first book titled, Love’s Reckoning.  Readers return to the setting of Pennsylvania in the year 1793.  This romance of the story focuses on Silas and Eden’s youngest daughter, Elinor.  Also as a concurrent plot is the issue of proslavery versus abolitionists with events coming to a drastic peak.
Elinor Ballantyne is finished with Philadelphia and its’ matrimonial society.  She wants to come home and arrives on the heels of a devastating tornado.  Her older sister has the household under control while her mother is vacationing in New Orleans.  Ellie feels at loose ends and has nothing to occupy her time.  She decides to open a school for young ladies to teach them the finer things of society.  One of her pupils is Chloe Turlock.  The Turlocks are enemies of the Ballantynes and have been for as long as Ellie can remember.  Ellie wants to help young Chloe so she agrees to teach her.  As Ellie spends more time with Chloe, she also ends up spending some time with Chloe’s brother, Jack.  Ellie loves Jack and is willing to be his wife no matter who Jack’s family is.  Ellie is heartbroken when Jack leaves and then something entirely worse happens and Ellie can’t seem to recover emotionally.
Jack Turlock is everything his family isn’t.  He isn’t a slaveholder; he doesn’t like whiskey, which is the family business and he doesn’t hate the Ballantynes.  Jack has loved Ellie since they were kids, but she doesn’t know it.  As she begins to spend time at his home tutoring his sister, Jack realizes he can never marry Ellie and tarnish her with his families’ bad reputation.  Jack decides that since he can’t marry Ellie, he will leave so he doesn’t have to watch her marry someone else, have children and live a life without him as her husband.  He leaves and tragedy strikes.
There is so much more to the story, but I can’t share everything in this limited space.  Please read the book!  This is one series where the second book outshines the first in my opinion.  There were great moments of tension, angst, heart-rending sorrow, soaring joy and much more.  There were a couple of scenes where I was brought to tears I was so wrapped up in the story.  The characters have depth and seem so real that I was feeling their emotions right along with them as they experienced them.  This story ends with a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the third book in the series due to be released in the fall of 2014.  This is definitely one for my “keeper” shelf.
My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at