The Inn at Ocean's Edge), most I've liked, and I few I've not connected with. So I wondered where I'd fall with these novellas. I'm happy to report that both fall into the "like" category ... though one is very close to "love."
Return to two of Colleen Coble’s most beloved settings—Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach—for holiday romance and mystery!
All Is Calm
It’s going to be an unexpectedly romantic Christmas at Bluebird Ranch.
Brendan Waddell has always considered Bluebird Ranch a little piece of heaven: an idyllic ranch that pairs abused children with abused horses, run by one of his Marine buddies. Now, it seems just the place to spend Christmas recovering from an on-the-job injury.
Lauren Everman first came to the ranch as a foster kid, but now knows it’s the perfect hideout. As the witness to a murder, Lauren needs somewhere to lie low. Her beauty immediately catches Brendan’s attention—but so does her secretive behavior. This Special Ops Intel man knows a woman on the run when he sees one. Can he trust her, or is she putting the ranch at risk? One thing is certain: he’s going to do everything he can to keep her safe so he can see what magic Christmas brings.
All Is Bright
A romantic Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn gives Delilah’s unique gifts a chance to shine. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say “I do”?
As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friend, Elin Summerall. But when Delilah’s car is forced off the road and into the ocean, she finally has to admit that the strange phone calls she’s been receiving lately may be more than just pranks.
Sheriff Tom Bourne has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he’s determined to protect her. He hopes to win her heart by giving her the surprise gift of a lifetime . . . but first he has to make sure nothing happens to her before Christmas Day.
It’s the season of miracles. But will both Elin and Delilah get the ones they need this holiday season?
All Is Calm marks a return to Bluebird Ranch (Lonestar series). Lauren, who stayed at Bluebird Ranch as a foster child, returns on the run with her beloved horse after becoming a person of interest in a murder investigation. When Marine Brendan agrees to help her clear her name, sparks fly.
I enjoyed this novella, though the "love at first sight" nature bugged me a bit. (Nothing against Coble—it's a personal preference that I've talked about before.) Also, what I thought would be a major plot point (Lauren buying but not really buying her horse) never turned into anything—it just felt like a dropped thread. Still, I found the novella enjoyable; it's a great holiday read. 3-1/2 stars.
I came into All Is Bright without having first read Coble's Hope Beach series, so I felt like I had a bit of a disadvantage. I didn't know the back stories of any of the characters and had trouble keeping them straight at times. (I don't think readers will encounter the same trouble with All Is Calm—it's a much more self-contained story.) But the romance between Tom and Delilah? Loved it. Theirs was definitely not a case of insta-love; the two had known each other for a few years and shared many friends—just the kind of romance I like. I also loved the subplot of Delilah's missing brother, which had a sweet resolution. Overall, I loved All Is Bright, and now I'd like to read the Hope Beach novels. 4-1/2 stars.
Readers of Coble's Lonestar and Hope Beach novels will enjoy this return to the beloved settings, and new readers who get a taste of the characters will surely want to go back and read the series. These novellas are perfect for a cold winter evening. 4 stars.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Coble's Inn at Ocean's Edge (5 stars), Lonestar series (Lonestar Secrets; Lonestar Angel, 3 stars), Under Texas Stars series (Blue Moon Promise, 3-1/2 stars; Safe in His Arms, 3-1/2 stars), The Lightkeeper's Daughter, the Journey of the Heart series (A Heart's Disguise, 4 stars; A Heart's Obsession, 3 stars; A Heart's Danger, 4 stars; A Heart's Betrayal, 3 stars; A Heart's Promise, 4 stars; and A Heart's Home, 3-1/2 stars).
Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.
Find Colleen online: website, Facebook, Twitter
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through The Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. 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."
friday favorites #33: week of march 24, 2017 - Well, it's been forever since I participated in a Friday Favorites ... or even posted anything on this blog! I'm coming to you on my third—yes, third—sic...
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