Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stuck Together By Mary Connealy Book Review

Stuck Together

Trouble in Texas, Book Three

Book Title: Stuck Together
Author: Mary Connealy
Source/Sponsor: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Christian Fiction
Number Of Pages: 314
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0916-1
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Year Of Publication: 2014
My Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
Favorite Quote From This Book:
"He turned, swinging as he pivoted. He realized it was her, and a horrified expression came over his face to see who he was punching. Texas men didn't punch women, after all." - Page 13
Book Description
Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.

Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. Not his tyrant of a father. Nor the injuries he suffered in the Civil War. Nor the fact that he is Broken Wheel's only attorney and sheriff yet has no law degree.

But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is suffering signs of dementia. And his surprise sister immediately falls for one of Vince's best friends. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he's got one more surprise coming his way: Tina's picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.
Book Review
THIS. BOOK. WAS. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. I have always loved Mary Connealy. I have read more of her books than I can count. Every time she has a new release I order it as soon as I can. She's just so stinkin' awesome. She's the only author that I have read that manages to mix Texas charm, action, romance, and humor in such a way that I just can't put the book down until I finish it. I seriously read it in one sitting. It was that good! Being a Texas girl myself, Mary Connealy's books are always refreshing. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I get tired of books about the "modern life". Yankees just don't know how bad they really have it. Anyway, Mary Connealy is the bomb dot com (does anyone say that anymore?). This book is the third in the Trouble In Texas series, and I have been looking forward to it for a long time. The first two books in this series were sooooooo good. I think the first one was my favorite. This book wasn't QUITE as good as the other two (by like, a fraction of a millimeter), but I still LOVED it. It's so action packed. There was always something happening. Unless your the type of person that can take a reading break in the middle of a really intense part of the book, you'll probably read it in one sitting too. This book is a mixture of Mary Connealy's signature humor and a newer writing style that I just can't seem to put my finger on. Maybe it was because it wasn't  focused as much on the romance as it was the rest of the plot, which is fine, just different from this author. If you like historical novels, western novels, funny novels, or the South, guess what? You just found your new favorite book! I encourage you to read this book, and any others by this author that has been published in the last couple of years. You'll love them! Pinky promise!

~Madi for The Literary Maidens

D I S C L A I M E R: I was provided with a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not further compensated to review this product, and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.

Body & Soul By Bethany Hamilton and Dustin Dillberg Book Review

Body & Soul

Review Written By Madi
Book Title: Body & Soul
Author(s): Bethany Hamilton and Dustin Dillberg
Source/Sponsor: BookLook
Genre: Fitness
Number Of Pages: 160
ISBN: 978-0-310-73105-4
Publisher: Zondervan
Year Of Publication: 2014
Rating: Five Out Of Five Stars
Book Description
Bethany Hamilton has become a fitness expert by virtue of being a professional athlete who has excelled. And she's done it while overcoming incredible challenges. Whether you know Bethany or not, whether you surf or not, everyone has challenges, and in Fitness, Faith, and Fun (working), Bethany shares some of her core experiences with body, mind and spirit. Bethany shares her expertise as an athlete and a Christian, showing how your spiritual health is just as important as your physical health. This isn't a book about Bethany, this is a book about wellness, becoming your best 'You,' through fitness--physical and spiritual.
 Book Review
When I ordered this book, I didn't even take the time to read the description. I figured it would be about the story about Bethany Hamilton and her faith, but I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out otherwise. When I realized that this was a fitness book, I'm not gonna lie, I was not thrilled. I'm not exactly the healthy eating, active every day type of person. I have tried a few work outs, but I've had a hard time sticking with them. This book helped me with that. It includes some workouts that you can do in the comfort of your home, and yet still change up your usual schedule and get  motivated. Another thing that I have always had a hard time with is understanding why certain things are bad for me and why I should avoid them. Bethany went into detail in this book why you should be one of those "Label Readers". She explained what each thing was, how it affected your body, and how you should/should not incorporate it into your daily diet. Some of it really surprised me. Like, how can certain juices be bad for you? IT'S FRUIT. Well if it's made at home that's all fine and dandy, but in a lot of store bought juices they use added preservatives and sugar substitutes that are really bad for the human body. I loved learning about what my body needs to function properly and reap the benefits of every day life. Another thing that I loved about this book was how Bible based it was. There were a lot of scriptures scattered throughout the text that applied to the human body and how we should honor it as God's Temple. Now I'm not saying that I'm gonna all of a sudden be a health gooroo (or however you spell it), but I do think that with this book as a reference that I will be able to make a few small changes at a time that will eventually lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Madi For The Literary Maidens
D I S C L A I M E R: I was provided with a free copy of this book by BookLook (formerly known as BookSneeze) in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not further compensated to review this product, and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer Book Review

18652058 // Full Steam Ahead //

By Karen Witemeyer 

{Review Written By Bethany}

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Christian Fiction
Number of Pages:
Bethany House
Publication Date: June 3rd, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //
 Taken from Good Reads

" When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's "not." Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals—the Jenkins brothers—on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary—someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the "Louisiana," Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves."
// Book Review // 
It's no secret that I'm a total Karen Witemeyer fan. She is one of my top favorite authors, and anytime I hear that she is working on a new book, I get extremely excited! So needless to say, I was very excited when I heard about Full Steam Ahead, and read it as fast as I could get my hands on it after months of anticipating it's arrival.

Being a fan of Karen Witemeyer's witty, fun and humorous writing style, filled with good sturdy characters, I knew I was in for a treat with Full Steam Ahead! I really enjoyed reading it, and even though it's not my favorite of Karen's novels, it was a very fun read that I read in under 24 hours.

The thing I loved so much about Full Steam Ahead was the fun story-line, humor and the characters. While I didn't find Mr. Darius Thornton to reach the character expectation level I had based on the Archer Brothers in Karen's Archer Brothers series, or other male characters in Karen's other books; he was still a very sturdy character who had lots of great development throughout the story. I liked Nicole and her determination and kind-heart. Again, while she wasn't my favorite female character out of all of Karen's novels, she was still a good character and brought lots of fun to the novel.

The story-line was well written and executed, and I especially enjoyed the latter portion of the story when the plot really sped up and got exciting in true Karen Witemeyer writing style fashion! The last 75 pages of the book flew by for me as I was so intrigued to learn what happened with the story, and how things work out in the end for Darius, Nicole and the family heirloom. As always, the ending was charming and well-planned.

Another thing I enjoyed about this novel was the historical aspect, which shed a new light on this important time in history where men were trying to research ways to make steam-ship boilers more safe to avoid explosions and ultimately lost lives. Mr. Darius Thornton had devoted his life to this work when Nicole arrived on the scene, and I loved seeing how she went alongside him and embraced his vision as her own, helping him with the experiments and in whatever other ways she could. It was neat being exposed to this often seemingly unimportant time in history, and I enjoyed the historical details that were added as well as the way the story was incorporated into the historical aspects.

In all, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to fans of Karen's other novels, or those who enjoy historical fiction with a fun plot. It was a very pleasing read, and I can't wait to read more novels by this author!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary review copy of Full Steam Ahead, provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed are my own, completely honest and unbiased.