For the next bit, you will find a number of Mary Connealy books reviewed. One of my assignments to grow as a writer is to study the writing of a writer I admire, and she is one whose books have been lining my shelves long before God called me out of my four walls.
So here we go, Book # 1 in the Lassoed in Texas series.
Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy
“Sophie Edwards is doing just fine, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he’s bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her – right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground and a chance at love on the Texas frontier.”
– Amazon.com Blurb
The book starts right off the bat with action and suspense, making it a difficult task to lay down the book when your children start asking, “When’s dinner?”
There were lots of twists and turns in the book that I didn’t expect and although there were instances of what seemed to be coincidence, they were put together in a very believable way. Even a miracle of God appeared throughout the story, one I particularly loved and believe is plausible even in today’s world.
I loved how strong and independent Sophie and her girls were, and especially in how sweet she was in letting Clay think that he was teaching her and the girls new skills when, in fact, they had already mastered them years ago. As a reader, I wanted to be Sophie and think that I could defend my family the way she did.
Clay was a hoot, too! Mr. Macho had no idea how to deal with women, but he was all too willing to step in and fulfill his Biblical brotherly duties to marry his brother’s widow. His take charge attitude was met with some hilarious results. Some parts of the romance seemed to happen too quick for me, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story.
The plot was not straight-forward either. Mrs. Connealy did a marvelous job of bringing in all sorts of ties from unexpected places. Every single detail had its place and even when things seemed part of a different plot they all came together to make one cohesive story. I really marvel at how she did that and am specifically breaking down each chapter to discover just exactly how she did that.
I would recommend anything she writes, but I would definitely recommend reading this series first. So many of the people in this first series appear in later series. Mrs. Connealy does a magnificent job of creating a cohesive story world across series. So meet the characters first in this series.
It seems as if this book is no longer in print, but you can find it through third-party sellers at Amazon.com. You can visit her website at http://maryconnealy.com/.
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
I have finally reached Melanie’s The Merchant’s Daughter in my TBR pile and all I can say is, why did I wait so long? I will readily admit that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale of all time, and Melanie did an amazing job with the story.
For those hardcore fairy tale fans – the ones who read the original versions by Anderson and the Grimm brothers – you will not be disappointed. Melanie did a fantastic job of sticking to the core elements but fleshing them out into a real life scenario that is just as magical as the fantasy presented to us through the historical renditions.
Even though I was very familiar with all the different variations of Beauty and the Beast, I was still wonderfully surprised and held in suspense throughout the story. It is easy to fall in love with kind, sweet Annabell who has her own wounds and broken past.Lord Ranulf le Wyse is an amazing beast who is all at once ferocious and yet gentle. My heart went out to him almost immediately.
Spiritual truth was woven masterfully and naturally throughout the story. I found myself transported and looking at the Holy Writ, as Annabell calls it, in a whole new light and with an excitement that I sometimes forget.
I highly recommend this book and would sum up this review with The Merchant’s Daughter is a fairy tale that reaches down to the soul and brings joy just by reading it. You simply must read this, and heart be still, Melanie has written a whole Fairy Tale Romance series.
The newest book Silent Songbird comes out in November.
Check out the links to purchase and connect with Melanie Dickerson below:
Amazon.com Barnes and Noble Melanie’s Website
“An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.”
– Blurb by from Amazon
The Canadian West Series by Janette Oke
Okay after having to leave a two-star rating for my favorite author last week, I had to revisit my favorite series from her and give her a glowing review to make up for the disappointment.
The Canadian West Series:
#1 When Calls the Heart
#2 When Comes the Spring
#3 When Breaks the Dawn
#4 When Hope Springs New
# 5 Beyond The Gathering Storm
# 6 When Tomorrow Comes
The first four books are my absolute favorite. In the first book, Elizabeth Thatcher goes to the Canadian West to teach in a school near her brother. Only she finds out turning down the wrong man puts her in a school much farther west where she has to learn to live alone and teach in a little one room school house. The fun ensues with her mistakes and the challenges of teaching in a small community.
In When Calls the Heart, Elizabeth Thatcher goes to the Canadian West to teach in a school near her brother. Only she finds out turning down the wrong man puts her in a school much farther west where she has to learn to live alone and teach in a little one room school house. The fun ensues with her mistakes and the challenges of teaching in a small community. Of course, there is the dashing mountie, Wynn. The miscommunications and the romance that follows is wonderful to read.
When Comes the Spring begins with the wedding, honeymoon, and then the first year of marriage. It is such a wonderful book showing how a God-centered marriage works, even in the most challenging of situations. Not only do they have to leave the small community they had come to know and love, but Elizabeth follows Wynn to the far north to live in an Indian village where she is an outsider.
In When Breaks the Dawn, they must move yet again and Elizabeth works with the Indian community to survive a wildfire and then flood. It is an exciting read and I just love following their marriage.
When Hope Springs New is the last one to focus on their lives as husband and wife, mountie and teacher. This book touches on the difficult topic of not being able to have children and God’s grace. It is a wonderful read that leaves you with hope for the future.
Finally, Beyond the Gathering Storm and When Tomorrow Comes follow the lives of Wynn and Elizabeth’s two children. One is an adopted son and the other is their miracle daughter. Each struggle to find their way in the world and to be patient for love. I enjoy reading both of their stories and love that you get to see Wynn and Elizabeth in a different light.
This is one of those rare series that I would make everyone read if I could. Janette Oke reveals the true life trials of married life and how it can be done in a Godly manner. Even if you have no Godly couples to look to, you can really see a great example in this series.
I love Wynn and Elizabeth as if they were real people. Okay, so maybe that is a little creepy. But in the books that really impact you and you love, it feels that way.
So what are you doing? Go buy and read this series. I promise you won’t regret it AND it is way better than her newest series and even the When Calls the Heart television show (which I do like, but it is nothing like the books.)
Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
Janette Oke was the first Christian author I ever read. She was also the first author to make me anxiously await the next release. Her books largely helped me to understand life as a Christian when I first began my own journey. She is still a remarkable writer that I would love to meet one day.
That being said, this was not my favorite book from her and her daughter. In fact, I would rate it as my least favorite I have ever read from her and will promptly be reading my favorite book from her, When Calls the Heart, to make sure I end on a good note.
For me, the story line was very slow moving, and actually quite boring. There was not a lot of interaction with her and Jarrick, even though this is the book they get married in. Elizabeth spends most of the book struggling with her relationship with her partner teacher and her own personal emotional struggles.
If I had not been reading expecting a romance story, it would have been probably more enjoyable. I would call this book strictly women’s fiction. Elizabeth Thatcher has a great amount of personal growth, and there are great lessons to be learned. I would still recommend the book as long as you have that as the primary focus. If you are expecting romance and the sweetness of an engaged couple, you will find it in unsatisfactory amounts.
Marie and Mr. Bee
written by Margaret Welwood and illustrated by Coralie Rycroft
I don’t usually do picture books, but Margaret Welwood reached out to me to review hers, and I have to say it was a cute read.
The book is meant to be read by an adult to a child and allow for a discussion about work ethic. It is a good illustration for that discussion, although I felt that portions of Mr. Bee’s story could have been more filled in to make a stronger point.
You can see in the picture that Marie is confined to a wheelchair but that is never mentioned or made a point of the story. So if you are looking for a book with a character with a disability but do not want it to be the focus of the story, this is a good one.
There are two versions available for purchase: one aimed specifically at a Bible-oriented market and the other meant for a secular market. The only difference between the two is on the last page where Marie is reading to Mr. Bee. In the Proverbs version, she is reading from the Bible and the verse Proverbs 12:14b is written in the book.
Honestly, the verse felt a little slapped on there compared to the other version. The verse was not cited except for the front of the book, and it did not look as polished as the version where she is just reading a regular story to Mr. Bee.
Even so, it is still a great book to read to your kid and spark a discussion. And knowing the verse from the sticker can prompt you to pull out your own Bible with your kid and look it up in the actual Bible like Mr. Bee and Marie.
I would recommend buying this book. The characters, story line, and illustrations are cute, and a great discussion can be started between you and a child.
*I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion, which can be read above.*
“Marie is a happy little girl who lives in a cabin in the woods, working and playing with her forest friends . . . until a not-so-busy bee entices her to neglect her work! Compassion, forgiveness, restoration, and a forever friendship ensue.
By the following summer, Mr. Bee is too old to fly. But every night, Marie lifts her little friend onto her lap and reads to him from the Book of John and the Book of Proverbs.”
– Blurb from Amazon
If you are interested in purchasing a copy or learning more about the book visit:
Amazon.com – Proverbs Version
Amazon.com – Secular Version