All is Calm All is Bright by Colleen Coble

Book description:

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?

My review:

I think the biggest challenge for authors writing a novella is to have enough of a variety of characters to capture the interest of readers, enough action to make the plot interesting, without giving it away too soon. Coble hits just the right pacing with these two novellas. The characters grabbed my attention right from the start and she managed to throw a couple of surprises at me.

I do have to say that I enjoyed the first story, All is Calm, a little better than the second one. However, that is usually the case when the first story is so satisfying! I just wanted to read more about Brenden and Lauren and the next chapter of their lives! I wasn’t quite ready to shift gears yet.

I also really enjoyed the topics Coble used in the books, such as foster children and the horse farm that ministered to children that have been through difficult things. I haven’t read a lot of books that showcased those ideas, so I enjoyed that aspect of the stories.

It was nice to read stories that combined romance and mystery. If you are a fan of those kinds of books, you will enjoy these. The length is perfect for this busy season. You can read the book during those times waiting for a rehearsal to end or at the doctor’s office during cold and flu season and finish it is a short time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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