All Is Calm, All Is Bright by Colleen Coble (review by Kristi)

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

From Goodreads:

All Is Calm

Brendan Waddell needs a place to recuperate. Lauren Everman needs a place to hide. 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 old Marine buddies. Now, recovering from an on-the-job injury, Brendan thinks the ranch is the perfect place to spend Christmas healing up.

When Lauren Everman was a seventeen-year-old foster kid, Bluebird Ranch was the safest place she knew. Now it’s the perfect hideout for a woman on the run. As the witness to a murder, Lauren needs somewhere to lie low, and her skill with horses means she’ll be able to lend a hand with the troubled kids at Bluebird—without answering too many questions.

Lauren’s rich hair, high cheekbones, and dark eyes immediately get Brendan’s attention—but so does her secretive behavior. This Special Ops Intel man knows a woman on the run when he sees one, and he’s not about to let her put Bluebird Ranch at risk.

But as Brendan and Lauren get to know each other, their suspicions evaporate and romance starts to sizzle. But this would-be couple has more to worry about than each other—there’s a killer on the loose who wants Lauren kept quiet.

All Is Bright

A romantic, Christmas wedding at her seaside hotel gives Delilah a chance to shine with her unique gifts. 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 friends at the grand hotel overlooking the ocean. While picking up still more twinkly lights and some last-minute groceries for the reception dinner, a huge truck runs her off the freezing, wet roads into the dark night. Her car stops just short of an enormous tree and the truck speeds off into the night. Delilah escapes with her life and has almost convinced herself the whole thing was an accident, but then she begins to receive threatening phone calls. With the wedding just hours away, she’s distracted and anxious. Then Sheriff Tom Bourne stops by the inn and volunteers to help.

Tom has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he’s determined to protect her. But he is pulled away by a bizarre Christmas stunt that has the neighborhood reeling, and Delilah is attacked again.

Will Delilah have to cancel the Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn? And will Tom’s protection be enough to save Delilah from the shadowy figure looming in the background?

My review: A fan of Collen Coble for many years I have never read any of her novellas but have loved her full-length novels. It was easy to tell from the beginning that she puts just as much effort into her novellas as she does her novels. These are two well-written stories.

All is Calm is based on her Lonestar series. Of the two novellas, this one was my favorite. I enjoyed everything about this story. The character development was great, the storyline was excellent. The suspense and mystery elements are well-balanced with the love story.

All is Bright is based on the Hope Beach series. This story was entertaining and had a good suspense/mystery element to it. I didn’t feel the same connection to these characters as I did the other story but still found this story to be a good read.

The Christmas aspect of these two stories is light. The first story has a bit more of a Christmas tone to it than the last. I did enjoy that even though these were Christmas stories they weren’t “overly Christmas”.

If you like suspense/mystery type stories and like books set at Christmastime this book is for you. These are quick and easy reads.

I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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