Friday, April 13, 2012

“Out of Control” is More Fun than a Barrel of Cavemen – 5 Stars!

Wacky, Zany, Witty, Quirky…Mary Connealy is an Acquired Taste…

“Out of Control”  May Actually Apply More to the Author than the Characters in the Book!

Print Length: 339 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers;
Original edition (August 1, 2011)
Also sold by: Amazon Digital Services

Mary Connealy creates horrible husbands and then she kills them. Fortunately  it doesn’t take the widows long to find another husband. One heroine even had her own cemetery of dead husbands. (The Husband Tree). One of the husbands in, “Wrangler in Petticoats”, Sydney, I really liked! *

Like I said, Mary Connealy, is an acquired taste. To her adoring fans all her historic western romantic comedies are 5-star pleasure fests! To unsuspecting readers, however, she can be something else. (These account for the less than 5-star stellar reviews.)

This current book, “Out of Control”, is edgy for even Connealy. I’m not sure there is a normal character in the book. The theme is what I would call ‘an inconvenient marriage of convenience’.

This is not a cozy romance where you can see the hero and heroine falling in love, little by little, from start to finish of the book. This is not a romantic book in the traditional sense. Consider the poor heroine’s potential husband, Rafe.

Rafe has a looney, always grinning, brother, a ‘locoweed’ insane brother, and to top it off,  he’s not quite right himself. The hero and heroine have only known each other for a day or two and as far as she can tell, he doesn’t love her.  How romantic can you get?

“Out of Control” is  Christian fiction because it is respectful of God and the reader. It is also a very clean book even if the characters get very dirty for most of the book. The heroine is on a quest to prove God exists by showing that fish fossils are found at the top of a mountain. The whole world had to have flooded for fish fossils to be up this high. Thus God exists. She is in love with fossils and her goal in life seems to be to get published in professorial journals. (I can sympathize with that.)  

The hero likes her because she is a cute little thing but she has a big mouth and is very bossy -- just like him.

Here’s the really good part.

Each page is fun to read. Each page is full of surprises. While the characters are on the wacky side, the physical details and descriptions are so exacting it makes everything seem natural and believable. For example, a lot of the story happens underground in deep caves and caverns. I’ve been in many caves and caverns and the writing is spot on perfect. You feel like you are really in a cave. In a way, the more wacky the story line is, the more authentic the details must be to keep a believable balance. This technique is so hard to pull off that almost no writers attempt it. (I think Janet Evanovich does this well in her Stephanie Plum novels but there are not many examples I can point to.)

There is always the threat of Death at each moment!

The author knows how to keep a reader turning the pages. First, the reader quickly comes to care about these zany characters. Then everyone is always in immediate danger of death. There is also ample motivation for every ounce of quirkiness expressed in the book. The most loco brother spent time in the infamous “Andersonville” Civil War prison camp. As quirky as they are, all the characters feature fully three dimensional personalities. (These are not easy books to write but they are very easy to read and enjoy.) 

Much More Fun to Come!

As quirky as “Out of Control” is, it’s only the start of a three book series. Rafe, the hero in “Out of Control” is the most normal brother. The next two brothers are really locoweed – who in their right mind would marry them – canidates for romance herodom. The second book is now out, In Too Deep”.  so you don’t have to wait to enjoy it.

Mary Connealy is a prolific writer. If you acquire a taste for her work, you’ll never go hungry!

*Mary did attempt to redeem one horrible husband in “The Bossy Bridegroom” –my favorite Connealy book, (read my review here) but this book is not funny at all. It’s also not a historical western romance. It is serious Christian fiction. But this is just a footnote for those who might want to see the other side of Mary.

“Out of Control” Five Star Wacky Excellence!

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