Tag Archive | Texas

Fired Up (Book Review)

fired upI’ve enjoyed other writings by Mary Connealy and looked forward to book two in her Trouble in Texas series: Fired Up.

Dare Riker and his friends formed a bond as Regulators at Anderson Prison during the war between the states. During the first book, they helped Luke reclaim his property and it was during that story that Dare started to fight his attraction for the beautiful Glynna.

After all, she was married. By the end of that story, Glenna was a widow and had vowed to never marry or depend on a man again. Dare has no intention of that anyway since people seem determined to try to kill him.

Then there is Glynna’s teenage son who is determined to protect his mother at all costs, even if it involves any man who was dare to mistreat her . . . and maybe even kiss her.

Dare has his hands full with measels, fires, a knifing and a former patient with a vendetta against him. Through it all, and in spite of Glynna’s tendency to cook things to overdone, they both start to change their minds about each other.

I love the stories Mary weaves and the friendships that these men have as they help each other and do not hesitate to speak truth. The faith story is organic to the characters and the I look forward to book three which I suspect will be Vince’s story. After all, what fun is the wilds of Texas if the men can’t find wives and have an adventure getting to the altar?

If you like Mary’s writing, you’ll enjoy this story.

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It Had To Be You (Book Review)

it had to be youI have loved the Wedding by Bella series written by Janice Thompson and It Had to Be You did not disappoint (except that it means the series has ended? Say it ain’t so, Janice!).

Bella is planning her own wedding to her hunky cowboy while at the same time planning a wedding between her aunt and uncle (unrelated to each other) who have loved each other for years but didn’t acknowledge it until the previous book.

Every wedding has it’s challenges and this one does as well with fights and a swing band that magically can help heal relationships and the most oddly humorous assortment of characters you will ever meet, including a mobster and a parrot that sings Amazing Grace among other things! I don’t even know if I could survive a week in that household given the emotional upheavals and drama.

Overall of that is love. Bella learns a huge lesson about grace and learning to depend on others when her body finally tells her to stop. I mean, literally, it stops her in her tracks. I love DJ and his faithful patience and adoration and listening to his bride-to-be. I really do hope they have the happily ever after they were planning on, because after all, it’s not the wedding that’s the most important, but the marriage, and I think Bella finally got that at the end.

Kudos to you Janice for another laugh-out-loud Texas sized romp with Italian sized heart. I enjoyed my trip to your imaginary world (but wish it were real because it would be fun to visit!)

Stealing the Preacher (Book Review)

stealing the preacherI have loved Karen Witemeyer’s writing and looked forward to reading Stealing the Preacher. I was not disappointed.

This book is a follow up to Short Straw Bride and looks at Crockett a few years after Travis and Meridith tie the knot. Crockett Archer is now a preacher looking for a church and headed to candidate for one. He is kidnapped from his train to fulfill a birthday wish for an ex-outlaw’s daughter.

Joanna Robbins loves God and has not only mourned the passing of her godly mother, but the departure of the pastor who once shepherded their small flock.  She has taken on the burden of seeing her father come to know the Lord. Can she possibly convince Crockett that his kidnapping was within God’s perfect plan and that the church he is to pastor is right across the field and not in a city further away?

Crockett is a great example of modesty, passion and purity as he takes on the various challenges laid before him and makes a great hero. Joanna is his biggest cheerleader but fearful that no one would love someone like her but falls in love with her father’s new ranch hand who also stirs her heart on Sunday mornings with his powerful preaching. Will  the two finally be able to come together as one with Joanna’s father so opposed to the man and another woman bend on having him for herself?

This book was a great read. If you like lighthearted western romances then this tale of Piney Cove, Texas will be a fun adventure for you. I enjoyed every moment. Thank you again, Karen!  Enjoy this cute trailer: Stealing the Preacher Book Trailer

Swept Away – Trouble in Texas Book 1 (Book Review)

swept  awayI enjoyed the antics of the Kincaid brothers and their brides so I looked forward to reading Mary Connealy’s latest venture, Swept Away.

I was quickly swept into the story as the heroine of the piece. Ruthy McNeil is a scrappy little thing and far tougher than I would be given the challenges she was dealt. For all that she was a trusting soul as well when rescued, after being swept away in a flood,  by a total stranger in the handsome package of Luke Stone.

Having rescued Ruth, Luke figures the only thing for him to do is take her with him, hoping to find a place for her before he fights for his ranch.  They meet up with a band of friends with deep bonds forged in Anderson prison where they served as “Regulators.” There they had been in the difficult position of keeping order, even amongst their fellow prisoners which some saw as traitorous.

These men have noble character and willingness to risk all for each other. Ruth comes to respect them and buys into their cause, whether they like it or not. Throw in an abused wife and action bursts forth until they are all swept away.

I liked the historical aspect of delving in the bond forged by men in prison during wartime. To deal with death and deprivation as well as the other dangers inherent with desperate men, these men emerged with honor intact and a desire to do what is right above all. The added sub-story of domestic abuse highlights the challenges many women faced in the brutal west. Abuse was not reported and who would interfere with a man’s right to control his wife? These men, however, refused to turn a blind eye and it becomes more important to rescue the victim above claiming the stolen property.

There are traces of humor as well in this story. I love that these simple men can have such cute thoughts and Luke tops them all, especially in regards to his new, and unexpected wife. It’s a sweet thing to watch their relationship.

I look forward to book two in this series which takes up Glynna’s story. Poor Dare. He’s got it bad. It will be fun to see how this pioneer woman who has been through so much will fire up the local doctor. It will also be fun to see the friendship between Glynna and Ruthie develop.

Short-Straw Bride (Book Review)

I had seen promotions for Short-Straw Bride on Facebook and was intrigued. I saw the trailer and it whetted my appetite, which is unusual.  I went to Amazon to put the book on my wish list.  Then the opportunity came up with Bethany House to review it and I leapt at the chance. When I found out I would be mailed a copy I waited impatiently for it to come. I hesitated to read other things because I was so eager to read this story.

Short-Straw Bride is a historical romance written by author Karen Witemeyer. Karen has a gift for making fictional characters come alive.  This story, set in Texas, introduces a young girl, Meredith Hayes with a childhood incident with Travis Archer that spurs  myriad  dreams of love. All grown up and on the verge of a possible marriage, Meridith hears of a plot against the Archers and in desperation flees to their ranch to warn them of the impending danger.  Trouble does come and Meredith’s reputation ends up in shreds. Four Archer men need to determine which one will wed her.  After drawing straws, Meredith finds herself wed to the man of her childhood dreams, Travis, but wonders if he will ever come to really love her as she loves him.

The book goes beyond this initial development in their relationship to follow the rocky course of love and misunderstandings and is filled with adventure, hope and yes, romance. All the characters are well-developed and believable. Headstrong, feisty Meredith struggles to comply with a man who is used to being entirely in charge of everyone and everything around him, supplanting God in the process. A woman on Archer land changes everything for this solitary band of brothers and all of it for the better.

I look forward to reading more from this author. I loved Short-Straw Bride and had to re-read the last chapter again so I could sigh once more at the beautifully written ending. It was a book I had a hard time putting down and I enjoyed every minute spent in its pages.  Beautifully done, Karen. Ms. Witemeyer and Bethany House get two thumbs up for not only creating in me an appetite to read this book and by not disappointing me when I finally did.

The Texan’s Promise (Book 1 in the Heart of a Hero series)

Be still my beating heart. A noble cowboy who leads with integrity and loves with honor but still makes some pretty big mistakes ends up taking the guardianship of a young woman to a level he never felt worthy of or anticipated.

The Texan’s Promise is a sweet romance by Shelley Gray takes you on a journey from Texas to Colorado and a few places beyond a few years after the Civil War has passed. Clayton Proffitt rescues the daughter of his now deceased employer and pledges to himself to guard her with his life. The journey they take to freedom and love embroil them in danger and bind them even tighter.

This book looks at the darker side of life on the southern frontier of early America and the hardships that especially befell women of that time if they were unprotected. Shelley Gray takes that darkness and shines the light of Christ into the midst of the pain and suffering with a light and gifted hand. I fell in love with Clayton and Vanessa and while I was grateful that the story had a happy ending, I was sad to leave them behind because I had grown fond of them and their relationship.

If you want a journey into honor and valor and women who don’t remain victims, then this is a wonderful book. The growth all the characters take is beautiful. Thank you Shelley for sharing this story with the world.

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1) – Book Review

Janice Thompson is the author of Fools Rush In,  that has comedy down to a science.  Bella Rossi is an Italian living in Texas and planning a country-western wedding. The clash of cultures between her Italian family and the very country family of the man of her dreams, who she meets quite by accident, culminates in a series of slap-dash, laugh out loud and make you smile like-a –silly- goon- responses as one reads.

I have rarely read a book with this much comedy so seamlessly woven in and where you can still connect with empathy for the inner struggles of the heroine of the tale, Bella. While some if it seems unbelievable it is totally realistic because hey, life IS stranger than fiction and it makes me wonder how much of this came from Janice’s own crazy life. I don’t know Janice personally so I’m only guessing here!

I highly recommend this book. For a look at Texas and Italian culture (and what happens when they mix) and the difference we all bring to any situation we find ourselves in, this book is top of the list at making fun of crazy families, especially those who don’t hide themselves but approach life with gusto and authenticity.

This book is first in a series of books called Weddings by Bella, and I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series, if they are anywhere as good as this one, the mantra of “laughter is the best medicine” will surely be a cure for the winter blues.  Keep us laughing, Janice! You have a gift for it and I’m glad you’ve shared it!