Saturday, September 3, 2011

Out of Control by Mary Connealy

Book Blurb:

Julia Gilliland has always been interested in the natural world around her. She particularly enjoys her outings to the cavern near her father's homestead, where she explores for fossils and formations, and plans to write a book about her discoveries. The cave seems plenty safe--until the day a mysterious intruder steals the rope she uses to find her way out.

Rafe Kincaid has spent years keeping his family's cattle ranch going, all without help from his two younger brothers, who fled the ranch--and Rafe's controlling ways--as soon as they were able. He's haunted by one terrible day at the cave on a far-flung corner of the Kincaid property, a day that changed his life forever. Ready to put the past behind him, he plans to visit the cave one final time. He sure doesn't expect to find a young woman trapped in one of the tunnels--or to be forced to kiss her!

Rafe is more intrigued by Julia than any woman he's ever known, but how can he overlook her fascination with the cave he despises? And when his developing relationship with Julia threatens his chance at reconciliation with his brothers, will he be forced to choose between the family bonds that could restore his trust and the love that could heal his heart?

My Review:

 Mary Connealy is possibly one of the best Christian Western Fiction writers there is! My first Christian Western I ever read was written by Mary Connealy and I've yet to find another Western author that I enjoy more than her! Her description of detail just pulls you in to the story and her characters are always fun and enjoyable!!

I have to admit though that I struggled with whether to give Out of Control 4 or 5 stars because I didn't quite connect with the characters as much as in some of her previous stories but over all this book was amazing besides my minor issues with Julia so I decided on 5.

The reason I struggled with liking Julia is because of weird obsession with fossils and her selfish behavior regarding them. Rafe was also a bit weird too, the whole marriage conversation that they had was strange. His haunting childhood story though was spot-on good and had me feeling the pain and emotions along with him which drew me in to his story.

My issues with Rafe and Julia were very minor though and I still ended up loving them and their stories. I especially enjoyed all the other characters involved too, especially Julia's step-mother and Rafe's brother Ethan.

One of my favorite things about this book was the added mystery and suspense involved with the caves, some of it was downright creepy and I had hurry to read to make sure everyone would be ok! Oh and the ending is the best!!

The spiritual aspect of this book I thought was more enlightening than any of her other books. Both the hero and heroine are dealing with trying to please their worldly fathers instead of their heavenly fathers and their struggles with finding God in the midst of heartache was profound. I enjoyed watching these characters grow and I'm excited to see how the story continues in book 2.

If you haven't read any of Connealy's books it is about time to start, she just has a way with Christians Westerns unlike any other author.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own, I would not recommend this book if I didn't LOVE it!! 

About Mary Connealy:

"I wrote my first book when I was about twelve. A romance novel. I shudder to think what a twelve year old could know about romance. I have no idea what happened to the manuscript. I suppose my mother found it, and burned it while screaming in horror, but I’ve always been afraid to ask. Was it a hundred pages? Two? I have no idea, but I seem to remember just writing FOREVER! So I’m guessing two pages long at least.

As a new bride I marched straight out of journalism school and into the kitchen, I did a lot of scribbling. I still have those heartbreaking works of staggering genius, Ode to Roast Beef, things like that, all born out of the ‘Write What You Know’ school of literature.

I began writing more seriously when my baby went to kindergarten. Not writing well of course, but just putting words on paper. No one does anything well the first time. I’m sure Babe Ruth missed the first ball pitched to him. I’m sure Picasso smeared pages with paint-y fingers when he was a kid—as I remember he went back to that later in life. I’m sure Beethoven played the eighteenth century version of Chopsticks before went for the sonatas.

My writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. I just kept typing away. I think the reason I did it was because I’m more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when I really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when I ought to sit silently).

So, I have all these things, I want to say, in my head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. I keep all this wit to myself, much to the relief of all who know me, and then I write all my great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

My journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

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