February 12, 2017

Fresh From the Bookshelf: No Way Up by Mary Connealy {Book Review}

No Way Up by Mary Connealy~ Book Review
When I am looking for fun read set in the western frontier, I enjoy reaching for a book from Christian fiction author Mary Connealy. I had a chance to review No Way Up, the first installment of her newest series The Cimarron Legacy through NetGalley. I hoped that it would be another fun read, set in the wild west of America.

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About No Way Up

No Way Up is the first installment of the latest series The Cimarron Legacy by Mary Connealy. Thanks to a novella (FREE!) we were able to meet the father of this series in The Boden Birthright, which set up the new series. The first book begins about 20 or so years after the novella. We get to meet the Boden family--ranchers living in the frontier New Mexico Territory in 1880. Chance Boden owns a vast land grant that he calls Cimarron Ranch. When he gets seriously injured in an avalanche, he is saved by hired hand Heath Kincaid. While badly injured, Chance requests that his will be read to his three children Justin, Sadie, and Cole. Heath, pressed to serve as a witness, reads the will to the children who are shocked to discover that their father expects them to live at the ranch for a whole year. Failure to do so by any of them, and the ranch goes to their despised cousin. Already dealing with the tragedy of their father's serious injuries, they are very upset at these terms which doesn't work with the life plans they each have---but they agree to do it. Heath discovers that the avalanche may not have been an accident, and decides to protect Sadie at all costs--even if she doesn't think she needs it. 

My Thoughts

I made sure I read the novella while I was waiting for the series to start, and I am really glad I did. It definitely gave important background information that gave added support for the first installment of the series. One of the first thing I noticed about the lead character of No Way Up was his name. Heath Kincaid. Hmm. Could he be Kincaid...from the Kincaid Brides series? I pulled the 3rd book of the Kincaid Bride series and yep--there he was! The little brother they discover at the end of the series--when we left the series he was about 15. Here he is a young man working as a hired hand. The book does reference Heath's background--not to the point you should go back and read it first, but if you KNOW the Kincaid Brides series, you will enjoy the reference..

This first book of the new series is good! I definitely enjoyed the story and how they tied in history and culture of the New Mexico natives. I really wanted to research the area and learn more about the natives who lived on the top of these plateaus. In fact, it reminded me of the Mesa Verde people my son and I researched during a social studies lesson. 

Heath is a great character and I enjoyed him--but I also liked how each character got a bit of time to get a feel for their role in the family. This is what a good first installment of a series does--well at least what I think a good first installment does. Whet your whistle for learning more. 

I think that the way the author is exploring the "mystery" of the story is good--but I had to keep things straight. In fact, at one point I had to go back and read the novella again! It appears the mystery in the story is going to continue into future installments. 

I give No Way Up 3.5★
All in all, I think I would give No Way Up by Mary Connealy 3.5 stars. It was good, but I WAS able to put it down and come back to it. I think the novella The Boden Birthright is NOT something to skip. It is definitely necessary to get the big picture behind the history of the ownership of the Cimarron Ranch. It is helpful if you "meet" Heath Kincaid in the Kincaid Brides series--I'm glad I knew who he was. If you didn't know who he was, it wasn't going to detract from the book. It just makes it even better. I don't know what could have happened to give this story more stars--maybe not rely on the novella as much for background information. I do like the direction this series is going and I definitely plan on reading it to completion--next up will be book #2 Long Time Gone, due out Feb 28, 2017.

No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy Book #1)
by Mary Connealy
Available in Kindle or Paperback

Mary Connealy writes some really great light reads with a lovely comedic style! I have reviewed a few of her books before--I hope you will grab one to enjoy!


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