Friday, August 27, 2010

Montana Rose by Mary Connealy
This book is actually the first in a series but I had read #2 (The Husband Tree) first. Silly me. It's best to go in order, right? Like cutting in line at a store check out, it can lead to upsets. Well, I found this to not be much of a issue in this case. The only person who can get upset is me and I loved it anyway.

As with anything that is Mary Connealy related that I've read so far, Montana Rose can stand on it's own. Poor 'china doll' Cassandra. Through the first half of the book, she's widowed, accosted by a bunch of tobacco chewing, dirty, miners who want a wife and sex toy, then married to the guy who dug her husband's grave--while standing on her husband's grave!! Now she has to figure out how not to get punished by him for every little wrong.  Oh yeah, she's pregant, too. There's where it got really good.
Red, a minister-in-training/rancher, had protected her from the miners but, now had a wife. This little 'china doll' wants to be helpful but she's completely inept. Red realizes that his little 'china doll' has been neglected, her spirit beaten down, lied to about how women are expected to behave, and deliberately uninformed about life-brainwashed into being an ornament, not a wife. How's he going to end up with a God fearing helpmate? You'll just have to read it and see. I laughed out loud all the way through Chapters 22 and 23 when she's having the baby.
4 Stars for Story Depth- I feel like I know all those characters as if they live nearby. The subplot of Belle and Anthony is full of conflict too.
3 Stars for Heat- This story didn't call for heat as much as tenderness, patience, and perserverance and Montana Rose is full of it all.
4 Stars for the God factor-I love how God is portrayed by Red all through this book and eventually Cassie sees God for who He is too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander

Ah, another good read Ms. Alexander. This damsel in distress reminds me of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, to begin with; Molly's been used......and discarded.....then cast out under duress and finds herself getting off a train in the Colorado Territory. I like the inner conflict of self preservation and following God's will and ways put into story form. We all have it. Romans 7:19 says, 'For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.' She has one moment of poor judgment and then tells one lie...that turns into another and the conflict continues with guilt, self loathing, and remorse added to the mix. All the while praying for God to get her out of the mess with no wrinkles in her dress to boot!
As we all do, she prays about it, sees the natural consequences and concludes that it's all punishment from God. But Molly is a tough cookie who really deep down knows her God; the circumstances feel bigger than Him. The fun part of this book is seeing just how God manages to use each indiscretion, mistake, and lie to His good. Her dress still manages to get wrinkled though. ;0)
I can't wait for my next installment Tamera! Within My Heart is due out in September, I believe.
5 Stars for Story Depth- the secondary and tertiary dramas going on are great!
4 Stars for the Temperature Setting- Boy, it was warm in those mountains! Lots of goosebumps and butterflies as well as nail biting here.
4 Stars for Celestial Inspiration- I'm reminded yet again, that even though I keep stirring up my own pot, God knows how to cook this stew much better than me. It's His recipe and I'm only one of the ingredients.

The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

I adored this book, cover to cover! Belle begins her story by throwing dirt onto her third dead husband's face while burying him and berating herself for marrying him. I chuckle as I'm keying this in. There are chuckles all the way through, too. I love when a book can make me laugh out loud or any other visceral reaction. Mary Connealy is one of my new favorite authors, for sure and for certain.
When I was a teenager I envisioned myself as a nurse midwife roaming the Kentucky hills on horseback and tending to my bunch of Appalachian folks. Quite romantic, right? Well, I am a nurse and I did work in Labor and Delivery for some years, but the reality is much different than the dream-thank God. Especially after reading Bell's trials in the Rockies on horseback, I can truthfully be thankful that I was born in the 20th century and not before. I just don't see me changing a diaper on a snow-drifted mountain pass while in the saddle on a cattle drive! There's lots of similarities between Belle and me though. I'm  a blunt, upfront kind of gal-what you see is what you get.
Here's my ratings:
4 stars for Story Depth. I couldn't tell just what was coming around the corner with this one and I love that.
3 stars for (a term I just learned) Edgy Romance. A bit too spicy for my teen but nicely warm for me.
3 stars for Inspiring me. You can definitely see the characters growing here but it's as much on a personal level as growth with God Himself.
Maybe I should add a Laugh Factor....hmm, If I did Husband Tree would get all 5 stars!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From a Distance (Timber Ridge Reflections, Book1) by Tamera Alexander
 Well, this was an interesting ride for sure. Antebellum Washington DC, Colorado, Franklin, TN--this heroine gets around! This story starts with Elizabeth on the precipice of a cliff and almost ends there too! It's full of adventure, intrigue, and danger with a smattering of flirting mixed in too. I liked that the characters all evolve, as time goes by, in their walk with God. Each one carries their own emotional baggage around with them (as we all do) allowing the baggage to influence their feelings, thoughts, and then actions. But like us, the characters have to deal with 'all that junk.' This book also takes so many hot topics and through the characters, deals with them through God's eyes--war, bigotry, prejudices against black people, country people, city people, poor, rich, etc.
As I'm am American History junkie, I have to love the explanations of the battles, the Maroon Bells, the Whitworth rifle, and of course, corsets. Why corsets intrigue me I have no idea.

As my 'ratings' system is evolving, here goes:
1 to 5 stars (with 1 being the worst and 5 the best of the best).

5 stars for story depth-especially for the American History junkie in me. Again, why I'm intrigued by corsets?

3 stars for the 'heat factor'- I would like to have seen a bit more in that department. I was moved to tears during many fireside talks and other moments when Daniel or Josiah were sharing their life experiences though.

4 stars for the 'God factor'- One of the 3 main characters was usually having a conversation  with Him or argument with Him or attitude adjustment by HIm at most anytime in the story and I gotta love that.

Now, I've read 2 books in two days. What's up with that you say?
Sinus Infection + Asthma bout = lots of books. I'm milking it too.  l0)