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review 2016-09-12 21:08
No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy #1) by Mary Connealy
No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy) - Mary Connealy

No Way Up starts with a bang (well, more of a rumble) as an avalanche sets up the circumstances that drive much of the plot for the story that follows.


Heath Kincaid is a very likable character, as he saves the Boden patriarch and investigates the cause of the avalanche. Sadie, a gratifyingly spunky heroine, is grateful to him for saving her father and is quick to join him in his attempts to reach Skull Mesa. As Heath calls on skills he learned growing up near caves in Colorado (reading Connealy’s Kincaid Brides trilogy is not necessary to read this novel, but you sure might want to after), he and Sadie both go through a time of personal and spiritual growth as they come to terms with the bossiness of older brothers and their attraction to each other.


It is in little moments that are part of the forming of Sadie and Heath's relationship that I found a majority of the humor in this particular novel. This was most notable in the utterly charming moments of Heath's embarrassment.


I enjoyed the return of characters from the prequel novella as well as new characters. In particular, I appreciated the way native characters were portrayed in a manner that seemed, to my limited knowledge, authentic and respectful.


I would easily classify the Mary Connealy books I've previously read as Christian Historical Fiction and, as the author herself describes them, "comedies with cowboys." In this novel, however, I saw less of the comedy. Instead, the thought that struck me quite quickly is that this is a Western. Not just historical fiction set in the Old West, but a Western with a capital W, so...


Recommended for those who enjoy Westerns set in the 1800's, with clean romance and a bit of humor included. I also recommend that you read the novella, The Boden Birthright, prior to reading this novel. It is currently available as a free ebook.


This (edited, full version at bookworlder.wordpress.com) review refers to a free review copy, courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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review 2016-08-29 16:13
Review: If You Were Me and Lived In...The American West
If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West - Paula Tabor,Carole P. Roman

We received this book to give an honest review. 

K really enjoyed this book and learning how the American West was before. 

I love how much information these books give you on the past and in a fun way. K didn't like the meals that were given on the way to the new homestead. He thought it sounded gross but hey you eat what you have. 

We learn how you traveled, what you carried with you, to even when you made it to where you were going how you survived there. 

At the end of the book is a list of famous people who lived in the American West so that was very neat to have that information. The illustrations are well done and I love how they helped capture the story being told. 

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review 2016-05-03 08:25
The Boden Birthright, a Cimarron Legacy Novella by Mary Connealy
The Boden Birthright (The Cimarron Legacy): A Cimarron Legacy Novella - Mary Connealy

Establishing the entire foundation of a new series in a novella is a daunting task and Mary Connealy has done a more than credible job.  


In this brief story, we see what drives Chance Boden to leave Boston for the wilds of the New Mexico Territory on a mission to reconnect with his four year old son, Cole, and with God.  We meet the woman he marries to hold the land her father gave his blood to protect.  We learn the roots and see new seeds planted for future threats and conflicts, while the characters of the three Boden children (Cole, Justin and Sadie) are established. But what I feel is the main take-away is the strong sense of the devotion to family that leads Chance to build a legacy for his children - both the ranch and a love of God.

He leaned close and his lips touched her temple as he whispered, "I will take care of you.  You're safe.  You're not alone."

Somehow it seemed as if those were his true wedding vows. (45%)

Though this at times suffers from the rushed feel that many novellas have, a too common side effect due to the brevity of the form, it is well worth reading.  While more somber and serious in tone than I expected from Connealy, it does have moments of humor that are simply precious.  Having a four year old interrupt a tender moment and later question certain aspects of married life is the perfect touch of humor from an author who says she writes "romantic comedies with cowboys."  


If you are a fan of clean historical romances set in the American Old West, western stories and/or romances in general, or just an enjoyable and uplifting story, then this is well worth checking out (or downloading - currently free on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.com).  Especially recommended for fans of Mary Connealy, of which I count myself one having adored her Wild at Heart trilogy. 


I'm looking forward to the novels of this series with great anticipation.  Sadie will be the Boden featured in the first novel, No Way Up, scheduled to be published in July 2016.  An excerpt is included at the end of the novella, though I won't be reading it.  I might like it too much, and then waiting is so much harder.



This review was originally published on bookworlder.wordpress.com  Please do not reblog without permission.

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review 2016-04-09 04:18
A Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan
A Sweet Misfortune: A Novel (Virtues and Vices of the Old West) - Maggie Brendan

I was in the mood for a simple historical romance, after reading several contemporary books, and Maggie Brendan's new book was the perfect choice. 


Start off with a rancher/cattle baron doing a favor for a friend by throwing a dance hall girl over his shoulder and taking her home to his grandmother and I am hooked.  But then it gets better.  Though Rachel is an independent Miss who was working in the saloon out of necessity, John considers himself a sort of guardian and encourages a likely young cowboy to court her.  As a reader, I know it is just a matter of time before John starts to realize that he'd rather court Rachel himself, but it is so much fun watching him realize he's messed up.  What usually isn't so much fun is her reaction, but Brendan doesn't always go for the expected.  Instead, in Rachel we get a heroine who doesn't require huge and sudden revelations and that is where her character shines.  Of course she is friendly to the "soiled doves" she worked with, of course not everyone will approve, and of course she is feeling a little bitter, given her circumstances.  But she takes this all in stride, doing what she feels is right and owning up to her failings.  


Nothing is over the top in this sweet romance.  It has a nice, brisk pace and a comfortable feel to it.  Yes, it has its bits of excitement and even some romantic rivalry, but it somehow has such a cozy feel that it just leaves me smiling.  One of it's strengths, I think, is the portrayal of faith as integral to the lives of the main characters.  It, and they, feel authentic and real.  Rachel doesn't need to be hit over the head with the fact that she is feeling bitter and needs to get right with God, she is aware and simply works through each obstacle.


This was my first Maggie Brendan novel, though I've had her other novels in and out of my online shopping baskets many times.  It won't be my last.


Recommended for when you need a sweet, clean historical romance - particularly if you are being kept up until 3am by horn-happy train drivers and a noisy upstairs neighbor (sigh).  While this is the second in the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series, it was not at all apparent.


Oh, and the "mean girl" of the story, Beatrice (a bit of a Nelly - a character I hated when the Little House shows first aired, but think might now be my favorite), while a bit obnoxious, just made me want more of her story.  Hint, hint...

This review, with minor differences, was first published on my Wordpress blog at http://wp.me/p5Tcfi-N6  Please do not re-blog without permission.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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

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review 2016-03-07 20:31
Review: With This Ring? A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry
With This Ring?: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry - Melissa Jagears,Regina Jennings,Karen Witemeyer,Mary Connealy

As you might expect from the title of this collection, there are (at least) four proposals, some misunderstandings, unexpected developments, and humorous situations to be found in the pages of these four novellas:

The Husband Maneuver by Karen Witemeyer

Etta has loved Dan for years. When she hears he is leaving her father's ranch she uses the dime novels he hates (the hero is based on him) as inspiration and hatches a plan to get him to propose, risking her reputation in the process. Of course, not all goes according to plan, especially when you have a man who plans for the worst and a woman who hopes for rainbows.

Marietta (Etta) Hawkins and Daniel Barrett were secondary characters in Witemeyer's most recent full length novel, A Worthy Pursuit. These were characters that called out for their story to be told, and having an excerpt of a Dead-Eye Dan dime store novel start each chapter was so much fun. I particularly liked how a Dead-Eye Dan novel is used at the end, and that the ending is so satisfying.

Her Dearly Unintended by Regina Jennings

Katie Ellen is alone and in charge while her parents are away. A storm and a swollen, raging river strand her and her neighbor Josiah alone. The arrival of an unexpected visitor forces Katie Ellen to play along when Josiah tells the man that they are husband and wife. While this is something Josiah would like to be true, he has a lot of work to do if Katie Ellen is ever going to be convinced. If, that is, their visitor doesn't become violent first.

Ellen Watson and Josiah Huckabee were childhood friends when they were introduced in the second Ozark Mountain Romance novel, At Love's Bidding. Here they are grown up, and their characters have developed to reflect that growing up. Katie Ellen is the most changed, in that she likes to be in complete control of her environment. This seemed a bit of an extreme reaction to the events that caused it, but it does add an interesting element to the story. A very fun story with a bit of action, a bit of romance and a bit of Benedict & Beatrice.

Runaway Bride by Mary Connealy

Carrie Halsey and her 16 year old brother Isaac are fleeing Houston the night before their father marries her off to pay a gambling debt. Big John Conroy, a Texas Ranger and former Andersonville Prison Regulator, is determined to get them to Rawhide, Colorado and their older sister Audra Kincaid. But things go wrong and they find themselves in Broken Wheel, Texas, fighting a small army of hired guns.

Incorporating characters from two earlier series, this story was a bit confusing at one point (even for Carrie) unless you are already familiar with how these characters are related to each other. Mary Connealy's usual blend of comedy and cowboys is present here, and it is a very enjoyable story whether you have read the related books or not.

Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears

Harrison Gray, local schoolteacher, is nearly blind without his glasses. When they are accidentally ruined in her barn, Charlotte "Charlie" Andrews helps him out in the classroom until a new pair arrives, taking time away from her ranch and preparing for her upcoming marriage of convenience. A marriage with the brother of the man that had been a classmate, and schoolyard bully, of Harrison and Charlie.

This was the one story that I put off reading, partly because the first full length novel in this new Teaville Moral Society series will not be released until early August, and partly because I was a little afraid that I would not love it as much as I did Melissa Jagears' Unexpected Brides series. No need to worry, though, as this was the one novella that actually made me laugh aloud. While some elements of this story did bring to mind the novella from that series, these are definitely different characters in very different circumstances. I'm looking forward to more of this series.

I was so excited when I found out there was going to be a collection of novellas by two of my go-to Christian Historical Romance authors, Karen Witemeyer and Melissa Jagears, and two more that are quickly becoming go-to authors of that genre, Mary Connealy and Regina Jennings. My expectations were high, for the stories themselves as well as my personal level of enjoyment. Happily, those expectations were met and I can count this as one of the books I would highly recommend to those who enjoy novellas that combine faith, romance, adventure, and a dash of humor. 4.5/5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogger Review 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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