Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"in too deep" by mary connealy

About the book: When young widow Audra Gilliland fears she and her two young children are a burden to her newly-married step-daughter Julia, she contemplates moving back east, but her new son-in-law Rafe Kincaid will hear nothing of it. Instead, he proposes marriage ... to his younger brother, Ethan.

Ethan isn't sure he wants a wife, and Audra certainly has a mind of her own, but he also longs to protect her and her babies. When evil men seeking a treasure Audra's first husband stole show up at the Kincaid ranch, Ethan realizes he will have to face some of his deepest fears if he wants to keep his new family safe.

My take: In Too Deep is the first book I've read by Nebraska (!) author Mary Connealy, but it certainly won't be the last. (In fact, The Husband Tree has been sitting on my "to be read" shelf for months now—someday I'll find the time to actually pick it up.) While I enjoyed the book, I had two fairly sizable problems with it—one was completely my own doing, and the other, well, was something I just didn't enjoy about the plot.
  1. If you want to make sense of this book, you must read book one, Out of Control, first! I didn't, and when the action jumped right in with Ethan and Audra frantically searching a cave for his brother and her daughter, I was completely lost. It took most of the book before I felt like I truly understood all of the story's background. So take my advice here—read Out of Control, and then read In Too Deep!
  2. I am a huge fan of marriage of convenience plotlines. But this particular marriage of convenience story was just a bit to ... convenient! One of the reasons I read romance is because I love the tension between the hero and heroine—the witty banter, the lead-up to the first kiss, the gradual falling in love. It's possible that some of this tension was present in Out of Control, but it certainly wasn't there in In too Deep. Ethan and Audra married at the beginning of the book, started kissing immediately (even though neither one wanted to be married), and then continued kissing practically any time they were alone. I felt cheated out of the build-up of their relationship because it happened so quickly.
Although I had my issues with the book, I still liked it quite a bit. It ends abruptly with multiple loose threads, and I eagerly anticipate the next book, which will tell Ethan's brother Seth's love story ... and hopefully wrap some things up! I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Update 4-8-12: For a limited time, Out of Control, book one in the Kincaid Brides, is available as a free e-book from Amazon. Since you'll want to read it before you read In Too Deep, you should get it here.
In Too Deep

About the author: Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers through their book reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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