Release Launch and Reviews: The Journey Home: Kelly Elliott

The Journey Home
Kelly Elliott

Fate has a way of stepping in and righting itself when we least expect it. 

Maddison Powers has been regretting the biggest mistake of her life when she walked away from the only man who has ever sparked something deep inside her. After comparing every guy she dates to Cale Blackwood, she finally gives up all hope of ever finding him. 

One dare by Maddison throws Cale back into her life...and into the arms of her best friend. 

Cale Blackwood thought he had found the woman of his dreams, until she walked away from him one night and didn't look back. Attempting to find love again, Cale finds himself in a relationship built on one lie after another. Forced to take on the biggest challenge of his life, Cale must seek help from the woman who walked away from him and broke his heart. 

Sometimes it takes more than one journey in life to truly be home.
Maddie's POV

“Cale, you need to go home.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. “You’re doing it again. You’re pushing me away. I’m tired of it, Maddie. I’m so tired of it.”

I swallowed hard and turned to find my phone. I needed Jack to come pick up Cale.

I was about to dial my phone when Cale grabbed me. He turned me around and backed me up until I hit the living room wall.

His eyes were filled with lust. That look had my panties soaked in seconds.

He lifted up my dress and, in one quick movement, he ripped my panties from my body. I wanted to cry out yes. I wanted to let him take me, but I couldn’t.

“Cale,” I said. “Don’t do this.”

He kissed my neck and I started to give in. When his hand touched my inner thigh, I startled. His lips moved to mine and I moaned, desperately, into his mouth as he lifted my leg.

“Oh God,” I whispered. I tried to come to my senses. “Cale, please don’t do this. We can’t do this.”

He moved his lips to my jaw line as he kissed around to my ear. “Are you turned on by me? Or by him?”

The moment he asked, I felt like a whore. I dropped my leg and pushed him back.

I wiped the tears from my eyes.

“Jesus. I didn’t mean that Maddie. I just—”

“Get out,” I said. “Get out of my house and don’t you dare set foot near me again. I hate you, Cale.”

Copyright 2014 The Journey Home Kelly Elliott

"But when two hearts combine, and they travel that road together, it leads to something even greater. It leads to home. To a love so great it makes your heart burst."

First of all, this is hard to write without spoilers but I am going to try my best to keep it vague. I had kind of mixed feelings about this book...well, at least I had a hard time in the beginning because things happened very quickly and there was so much angst...just so much.
There were so many missed chances and opportunities, miscommunication, secrets, lies, and missteps. The characters frustrated me with some of their decisions. There were toxic people that grated on me, and every time they did something else it made me so angry I wanted to throw my Kindle. Rachel and I were actually messaging during the first chunk of the book commiserating over all the things that were surprising us or just driving us crazy. It was a total rollercoaster of drama for at least the first third of the book. And I know some people thrive on this, but sometimes I just do not deal with constant angst. 

But then it started to  level off and I got to see another side of the characters as they started to figure things out. And from that point on I really began to like the book and the characters really grew on me. Once they started to get it together and  were on the same page, it became easier to identify with them and become invested in their outcome. Not only the main characters Maddie and Cale, but also their very best friends, Monica and Jack .

Cale and Maddie started out so intense and it left a mark on them that neither of them could replace. For years, in the background they kept looking for each other, but never connected and could never find anyone else comparable. But that becomes part of the perpetual drama.  I really liked Cale in the beginning, especially  how he really couldn't get over Maddie. But then there was a point that even he was just making me furious with some of his choices and behavior. He was a good guy, and  he was smart, and loving. But he ended up in a bad situation that quickly got out of control.  And how he handled it wasn't always favorable in my eyes. When he was unhappy, he tended to say things that he wished he could take back. But when he was happy, he was wonderful and devoted and loving, and I really liked him.

Now Maddie was a runner. She's the girl who when things get too hot to handle, it's easier for her to take off or shut down. And because of that, it causes problems with them for years. But she was also a very caring, feisty, smart woman too. And when she felt comfortable in situations, she was all in. But when she felt insecure or was not sure of other people's intentions, then she could be very skittish and she could also strike out. But many of their problems could be traced back to her initial choices.

So we had two characters that had a hard time letting go of feelings for each other, but also had situations that were largely out of their control that kept them apart. So that was where a lot of the frustration and drama came from. And even when the situation allowed for more communication between them, it was still difficult due to past pain, hurt feelings, and insecurities. But as a couple when they really were together they had a volatile chemistry, a deep connection, and no one could ever replace the other one. And even when they were getting things figured out, that didn't mean the drama for them was over. It just meant that they got to deal with it together. But I knew that more challenges had to be coming since there was still quite a bit of book left. 

I also loved the side characters of Jack and Monica and seeing the situations they went through as well. They were humorous, supportive, and devoted to their friends.  I felt very attached to them all along and they were an important part of this story as well. 

Now there were a few people that I  absolutely detested. They made me so incredibly angry I couldn't see straight. Zoey was probably my most hated character in any Kelly Elliott book. And there were a few others that made me angry or just repelled me. But these antagonists definitely added layers of uneasiness, tension, and drama. 

This book had me feeling all kinds of emotions. I went from being angry, frustrated and disappointed to happy, laughing, and swooning and even shed a few tears. I have already mentioned that I struggled in the beginning and was not sure where this was going and if I wanted to go there. I had some issues with the characters at first, but somewhere along the way I ended up falling for Cale and Maddie and Jack and Monica. And by the end, I definitely felt like I had been on a long and twisting journey with these characters, but I was glad I took it.

Overall this is a book about soul mates, fate, hope and the power of love. It's about grabbing on to the people that truly do care about you and the importance of family and friends. It was definitely a wild ride and at times it was almost too much for me. But part of the sweetness of getting to a place where you can say that you're finally found your true home is realizing that you made it despite unexpected paths and detours to get there. Perhaps if something didn't happen the way it did then it would've had repercussions in other areas and then the final outcome might have changed. I was really happy to see an epilogue. This is supposed to be a stand alone story so I felt like it definitely gave you their beginning, middle, and end.  

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

The Journey Home is about one couple’s experiences following a life-changing night together and two years of not knowing where the other is or where their lives have taken them. After two years, friends of both Cale and Maddie are adamant that they move on with their lives and forget the connection they felt for the other. A bet with one of her best friends brings Cale back into Maddie’s life, but even being back in her life, Cale can’t have the one woman he wants.

The first 30% of The Journey Home had me wanting to fight or smack just about every main character. The near misses, the decisions that continued to lead Maddie and Cale down unhappy paths, I just couldn’t believe everything I was reading. 

I know why Cale stayed with Zoey as long as he did, but as he was pulled deeper and deeper into their relationship I just wanted to smack some sense into him. Hard. He knew exactly what she was doing and still he stayed with her? It just made me sick.

Maddie was a runner. When she got scared, her first instinct was always to run. That’s fine once or twice and for short distances, but when you run to a different continent multiple times, you start to reap what you sow, and she certainly did.

Zoey's actions drove much of the first half of the book, and often left me feeling sick for Maddie and Cale, and wondering how in the world they were going to be able to get around her. I can’t think of another character, especially one written by Kelly Elliott, that I have hated with as much emotion as I hated Zoey.

Monica and Jack add so much to the story, for a while they were my absolute favorite characters in the book. Both as best friends and a developing couple in their own right, they add a depth to the story that would not have been there without them. FOr this being Cale and Maddie’s story, we see a great deal of the development of their relationship and I loved that addition. During times when I couldn’t stand other things going on in the story, their attraction and characters shone through and made me keep hope.

I had a hard time figuring out how to rate this book. My reactions to the first third of the book were so strong that it almost overwhelmed my feelings about the rest of the book. That part was not what I expect when I pick up one of Kelly’s book, and while it made me want to keep reading to see what she would do with the story, it also was filled with so much angst that I almost didn’t want to see where the story was going.

I faced moments reading where I didn’t know how the characters would wade through the drama and angst, and moments where I wasn’t sure how the story could continue without it. Because once the main angst causing plot points were resolved, there was almost a palpable reduction in my emotional response. 

This story was filled with so many wrenches and twists that though the first third was a challenge for me, the end was absolutely worth it. By the time I hit the words, “The End,” I was in love with every single character and every single action along the way. (Ok, maybe I still cringed thinking about the beginning, but it all wrapped up so nicely I wasn’t as focused on that beginning.) And isn’t that why we read? To get out of our own heads, into those of the characters, feel something new, something uncomfortable, something wonderful. And this book made me do all of that and more. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kelly Elliott

Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!

She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.

In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write. 

One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.


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