Monday, February 29, 2016

With THIS Ring? Reviewed

About the Book:

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor.

In Karen Witemeyer's "The Husband Maneuver," Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins when the ranch foreman she loves seems to be leaving forever. Regina Jennings offers "Her Dearly Unintended," where friends stranded by a rising river pretend to be newlyweds when a dangerous stranger arrives. Mary Connealy's "Runaway Bride" finds a Texas ranger getting more than he expected when he rescues a young woman fleeing a dangerous arranged marriage. And Melissa Jagears' "Engaging the Competition" finds a young woman forced to assist the man she's sparred with for so long after an accident leaves him helpless. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers. You can buy this collection at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or Christian Book.

My review:

The Husband Maneuver by Karen Witemeyer
I couldn’t get past the first page…without laughing out loud. This novella reminded me why I’ve read every single piece of writing Karen has available for purchase, and reread some to boot. Marietta and Daniel’s story had been nipping at the edge of my curiosity since A Worthy Pursuit. Bless Marietta’s heart, she just can’t wait a couple weeks and risk losing the man she loves, which of course, gets her AND Daniel into way more trouble than they bargained for. Daniel Barrett is the name I had picked out for a sea captain in one of my early-early attempts at writing some 10-odd years ago. Someday maybe I'll rewrite his story, but my Daniel Barrett and Karen's Daniel Barrett both share the same name and red hair, which makes me feel smart for having something in common with her. :)
Full of laughs and swoon-worthy moments, this novella (like all Karen’s work) makes me wish Witemeyer Heroes were real-life fellas. That wouldn’t do at all, considering all the fainting that would ensue. Seriously, though… “Witemeyer’s Heroes” would make a spectacular dating service, don’t you think? I can see it now. Livery owners, cowboys, blacksmiths, sheep ranchers, inventive shipping magnates, reformed bounty hunters, and railroad explosive specialists. :D
I finished this novella in one sitting. Every page was a joy. Just before the lovely “I’m all yours” and classy kiss-and-fade-to-black conclusion comes one of my favorite parts of the whole novella—when the ending of the dime novel gets tweaked. My HEA-loving heart stood up and cheered. Daniel Barrett became my hero x10 in that moment.

Her Dearly Unintended by Regina Jennings
Ms. Jennings has a style that draws me in and keeps me reading up in the night. The homeyness is there, as well as fresh, unexpected characters. I never fail to be surprised by someone she’s written—after my mind stereotypes them, they end up the opposite. One thing I noted is Josiah and Katie Ellen are quite young in this novella—or maybe I’m just getting old, haha! I admit, I normally like a more seasoned hero, but Josiah’s bravado, energy and vulnerability were endearing and balanced Katie Ellen’s obsessive compulsiveness quite well. Plus, Josiah has the protective hero thing going on like nobody's business. If Josiah were standing here right now, I'd totally give him a fist bump for that. Can I just say…the rocks! “What if they’re lonely and want to be near each other?” Adorable! Wearing his mother’s dress? *snort* Every Regina Jennings book I've read has a down-in-the-country feel, a dirt road grittiness, with plenty of sunshine and fluffy clouds to brighten the view. Bringing along its share of danger, sighs and giggles, this novel was no exception to that delightful rule.

Runaway Bride by Mary Connealy
As usual, this Connealy book grabs you on the first page, plunks you in the saddle, and takes you for a ride that doesn’t stop twisting, turning, and bucking (maybe even exploding) until the very end. Big John Conroy and Carrie are a very cutesy old-fashioned couple, and I love that about them. The threat of death throws them together, but John and Carrie are NOT going to be talked into anything they haven’t thoroughly thought through, especially something like marriage (who said anything about marriage?), except maybe they’ve already thought on it a little bit, and they’ve found they rather like one another, but they wouldn’t dare let on to anyone else, especially the all-fired-know-it-all Vince, who really does know a lot of stuff and is only trying to help by suggesting they marry. After fighting their own attraction, friends’ teasing, a band of mighty evil outlaws, and pure common sense, they may or may not submit to domestication and happily ever after, which is surely doomed if the main baddy shows up. I won’t tell you the ending, but suffice it to say there’s a lot of shooting and big family involvement from folks who we didn’t even know were related, but they’re claiming it anyhow, ‘cuz in the west, if you don’t hate each other, you gotta love each’s the only way to survive.

Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears
I loved Harrison in this novella, because he reminds me of a nerdish fella I grew up with, one all the girls had a crush on (yes, all), despite (and probably halfway because of) his glasses. It also helps that Harrison quotes poetry and is extremely intelligent and skilled when it comes to literature and most everything except the loved-her-since-grade-school, rough and tumble heroine Charlotte Andrews. He’s a little hung up on a shooting competition where she sort of humiliated him in front of all the guys, but I guess guys are pretty competitive and deeply desire respect, so that makes sense. His sharply intelligent, no-nonsense persona is softened by the fact that he’s adorably vulnerable without his glasses, the helplessness of which he hates in a very manly fashion--except when it puts him within kissing proximity of Charlotte. (^_^) The subplot with Charlotte’s mother is heartfelt, thoughtful, and grounding, lending this otherwise fun-loving adventure some roots that go deeper than one may perceive at first-glance.

I recommend this novella collection to all my fellow Christian historical romance fans. Quite possibly one of the best novella collections I’ve read. Well done ladies!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. (Which I'm most happy and delighted to share despite all that legal babble. :P ) 


1 comment:

  1. This was such a charming read all the way around. It had been quite some time since I read a novella and, much as I love a good full length, these novellas were just right and such a pleasure to indulge my hopeless romanticism in!
    (Thanks for your comment on my blog! <3 )


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