Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Heidi Reads... Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


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.

My Review

Another fun western adventure from Mary Connealy! I always enjoy the humor that makes her characters so likeable. Although it can be read as a stand alone, I'd recommend reading the previous novels in the series since they are just as wonderful and the group of men that are "closer than brothers" from their experiences in the war prison camp each take their turn as the lead character. The author does do a good job of making sure the reader knows who everyone is and how they are important.

The initial attraction between Vince and Tina isn't very romantic- kind of like they were each the only ones left to pick from- but as they each accept the others quirks and begin to depend on one another, the relationship blossoms and the chemistry has a foundation to build on. What they have in common is that they both put up a strong front in spite of their vulnerabilities, and they come to admire that in each other.

Vince's sweet mother and her dementia was a unique twist to the story, and had everyone pulling together to support her. I was struck with how the perception of mental illness was so extreme back then, and makes me understand a little more the roots of the social stigma there still can be found today.

(Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review)
Check out the other books from the Trouble in Texas series by Mary Connealy!

Swept Away 
Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone... so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn't make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can't just abandon Ruthy, so she'll have to come along.

His friends—a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers—take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that's rather rude—he's the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she's terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner—never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can't help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna's diner into Dare's back. Are Flint's cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna's son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?

Closer Than Brothers
It's NOT a romance. It's not very funny, there just wasn't much comedy to be mined for me in Andersonville Prison. It's not even a real story.

It's NOT a romance. It's not a comedy.
It's not a western. No ropin' and ridin' anywhere.

13 episodes of how my heroes from Trouble in Texas met and how they became so loyal to each other.

Read Closer Than Brothers for free at Mary Connealy's website!

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