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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

This is a charming and delightful read. I would definitely read more by Mary Connealy.

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 1597899380
ISBN-13: 9781597899383
Series: Lassoed in Texas
Available in Kindle or Nook;
also available as part of the series trilogy in print or ebook.
Genre: Christian Romantic Comedy, Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Product Description
Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?

Grace was adopted as a four year old by Parrish, a man who beat and terrorized her and worked her as slave labor in the carpet mills of Chicago. Grace tried to protect her “sister”, Hannah, and the other little girls who were targeted by Parrish.  Grace finally escaped and on the way out of town was able to get Parrish arrested for theft.

Grace ended up as a teacher in a remote Texas town where she starves herself as she sends most of her money home to Hannah. Grace presents a prim and proper image trying to appear older than 16 and trying to control her students. Most of the children, especially the little girls, love her but the five impish Reeves boys won’t settle down. Her attempts to get their father to help control them go to no avail and finally there is a confrontation.

Grace is in despair but that is nothing to her fear when Parrish bursts into her barren room. Fleeing in the cold night Grace hides in a wagon and ends up frozen in the remote, barren home of the Reeves. Grace doesn’t want the bullish man and his 11 year old troublesome twins and 5 year old terrible triplets. And Daniel Reeves wants nothing to do with a prim, prissy woman, no matter how pretty, especially after he lost his wife to child birth. But the parson shows up and they stumble into marriage vows.

When an avalanche blocks the family into the canyon how will Grace manage to cope with the six Rs?

I loved Grace as a brave young woman who faced all obstacles by returning to her faith in a God who is ever faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him. I also enjoyed the zany antics of the motherless boys, Abe (Abraham), Ike (Issac), Mark, Luke and John. The boys are hiding their longing for a mother’s love behind their rowdy exteriors. One of my book club mates pointed out that it was interesting that the personalities of the boys are similar to their Biblical namesakes. The Biblical messages that are shared are beautiful, powerful and flowed appropriately with the historical setting where the Bible was the primary source of reading material.

Ms. Connealy does a grand job of describing the settings and primitive cultural aspects befitting the 1867 west. The pacing in the beginning is just a little slow but once it hits the humor it is easy to settle in and the rest moves at a nice brisk pace. The writing has a good flow and balance between character development, plotline and description. This is a fine read for anyone who enjoys a Christian message wrapped in a fun story.
A sampling of quotes:
The parson sort of tricks them into marriage:
Grace quit listening to the parson as she considered what seemed to be going on in this cave this morning. Forget nervous horse: Try runaway train. This situation was definitely out of control... Page 53
Grace discussing God with John while they are blocked in the cave:
"God loves us especially when we don't deserve it, honey." Page 140
Daniel's thoughts on a playful Grace after she is dug out from the avalanche:
The snow had buried an overanxious prude. He'd dug up a little spitfire. Page 147

I picked this up at Christianbooks for $2.99 for our Church ladies' book club. Everyone enjoyed it! It is still available at that lovely discounted price!
This is set in Mosqueros, Texas for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to my New Author Challenge list.

1. Visit the author's website and tell me something you found there of interest OR if you have read this author before tell me a title you liked and/or why you liked it. This is required for entry.

2.  For an extra entry, become a follower on any media (GFC, Twitter @MSEREADS, Facebook fanpage: , Goodreads or Linky - links on right sidebar) or tell me if you are already a follower.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Two total entries possible.)

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on June 1, 2012.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. I haven't read any of her books yet, but there are a couple on my TBR pile!! I LOVE the look of her In Too Deep and Out of Control books. I can't believe how slow the publishing process is.... 1 yr for her to send in 3 chapters, then the whole book only to get rejected. How discouraging that must be!

  2. This is a new author for me. The book covers are very lovely. In Too Deep looks very good also. I will have to check these books out. :)

    I'm already a GFC follower.

    Thanks and Happy Reading!


  3. I learned that she has written four sets of Series. Some of her characters from one series make appearances in other series.

    I follow on gfc - mamabunny13, Fb-mamabunny13, twitter @mamabunny13

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  4. I love the cover. Awesome review!

    new follower

  5. I read Golden Days and At Home for Christmas.I enjoy her books.
    a GFC follower.Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  6. what i found of interest is that Mary's written cozies!!
    who knew ?! too fun !!

  7. I found it interesting that Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

    I follow the blog.



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