Journey to two of Colleen Coble’s most beloved settings—Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach—for holiday romance and mystery!
“Colleen is a master storyteller.” —Karen Kingsbury, New York Times bestselling author
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?
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series. Connect with Colleen online at colleencoble.com; Instagram: colleencoble; Facebook: colleencoblebooks; Twitter: @colleencoble.
Read an Excerpt
All Is Calm, All Is Bright
A Colleen Coble Christmas Collection
By Colleen Coble
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Colleen Coble
All rights reserved.
THIS IS WRONG ON EVERY COUNT. CHRISTMAS WAS THREE WEEKS away. Did that mean nothing to these men? Lauren Everman darted into the barn and locked the padlock from the inside. Angel, the black stallion behind her, snorted when she rattled the chain to make sure it held.
"Lauren, you unlock this door right now." Ranch owner Charles McLeod yelled from outside the barn. "You know it has to be done."
"It wasn't his fault!" She backed away from the door and went to stand near Angel's stall. "It's okay, boy. I won't let anyone hurt you."
"The vet can't stay any longer. We can do this nice and humane, or I'll just have to shoot him later." Her boss pounded on the door.
"I'm telling you it wasn't his fault. Someone shot him full of some kind of drug. I saw it." She had no real hope McLeod would listen to her. Trouble always seemed to find her no matter what she did or how hard she tried. She'd already tried to tell him about the shadowy figures she'd seen two days ago and the bullet that had come whizzing by her head. He claimed she was being dramatic and just wanted attention. She knew better. "Angel would never hurt anyone on purpose."
As if to contradict her, the stallion bit down on her arm hard enough to make her wince. She jerked out of his way. Poor fellow. Angel was stressed. She moved down the length of the stall and checked the back door to make sure it was securely locked. It was. So were the windows. No one was getting in here unless she let them.
McLeod shouted her name again, then peered through the window at her. She turned her back on him and flopped down in the hay. Might as well make herself comfortable. It was going to be a long night.
Through one window the sunset put on a spectacular show. She focused on it and tried to tune out the angry men outside. They couldn't kill Angel ... They just couldn't. She'd never be able to live with the injustice of it.
An idea began to foment. What if she escaped with him and went far away where they'd never find him? With Tonia's lies, the police had been questioning her about Dustin's death as if she was a suspect. But where could she go to find a safe haven?
Bluebird Ranch. The notion popped into her head. She'd spent a life-changing summer there twelve years ago when she was seventeen. It was a terrific ranch that paired abused children with abused horses. When she was a foster kid, the place had been the one bright spot for her. There was always a place there for a good horse and a hard worker. She could get there in a day. All she had to do was get to El Paso, then head east to the Big Bend area of West Texas.
She got up and dusted the hay off her jeans. She couldn't just steal the horse, though. The horse was worth ten grand. On second thought, if McLeod was prepared to put him down anyway, any money he got should make him happy.
Her heart singing, she practically ran to her room, a tiny space in the back of the barn, and dug out her checkbook. She wrote out a check for five thousand dollars, nearly cleaning out her account, and tucked the corner of the check under a lamp on the nightstand.
Once they left her in peace, she'd make her getaway under cover of night. She grabbed her Stetson. It wouldn't be the first time she'd run.
* * *
Brendan Waddell had always considered the Bluebird Ranch a little piece of heaven, and today was no exception when he parked his truck in the dirt drive and got out. He drew in a deep breath of mesquite and creosote, the finest scent on earth as far as he was concerned. The twinkling Christmas lights welcomed him.
Allie Bailey, Rick's petite wife, bounced down the porch steps before he even managed to shut the door behind him. "You're late."
Her tight hug told him he was welcome. "Had to stop for gas." And to walk off the pain gripping his right leg, but he wasn't about to tell her that. He released her and stepped back, eyeing the huge tummy bulge under her sleeveless red top. "You look like you're about to pop."
Her bright blue eyes widened. "How ungentlemanly of you to notice." Her laugh rang out. "It's a girl this time, due end of December."
"I bet Rick is over the moon."
"Sure is. We both want a big family." He followed her toward the house, a sprawling home typical of its West Texas setting. White barns, outbuildings, and bunkhouses ranged over the property. This place was exactly what he needed.
A young woman pushing a child in a tire swing under a large mesquite tree caught his attention. He'd seen her before somewhere, hadn't he? Or a picture of her maybe? In his intelligence position with Special Ops, he read every bit of local news and unusual circumstances that came across his desk. She didn't seem to notice him staring as she pushed the little girl higher and higher.
He nodded toward the two. "Who's that?"
"Interested? I think she's single." Allie's impudent grin flashed up at him.
Used to friends trying to marry him off, Brendan kept his face impassive. If he ignored the innuendos, they'd leave him alone sooner or later. "She just looks familiar. Was she here last time I came?"
Allie shook her head as she mounted the steps to the house. "Lauren just arrived a couple of days ago looking for a job. She was a guest here years ago when she was a teenager. As luck would have it, we were in need of a new horse trainer. She's amazing with horses. It's like she speaks their language. Her letters of recommendation were impeccable, and Rick hired her on the spot."
He spared one last glance at the brunette. The ponytail holding her dark hair emphasized her high cheekbones and expressive dark brown eyes. She looked over and caught his gaze. A tinge of color sprang to her face, and she turned away to attend to the little girl.
"No, one of our foster kids here for the summer." Allie opened the screen door. "Rick will be home in a few minutes. He ran to the feed store."
When Brendan entered the living room, a whirlwind attacked his good leg. He lifted the four-year-old into his arms, and little Matthew clung like a monkey. "Hey, squirt."
The little boy puffed out his chest. "I'm not a squirt anymore, Uncle Brendan. I'm big."
"You've grown two inches since I saw you." Brendan set him back on the floor and lifted a brow in Allie's direction.
"My usual room?"
"It's all ready for you."
"I'll be right back." He sniffed the air, redolent with the aroma of Mexican spices. "Smells like enchiladas." His stomach rumbled.
Allie smiled and took her son's hand. "You nailed it."
Brendan went down the hall and dropped his luggage, then headed for the kitchen.
Allie nodded out the window. "Rick just got back. Have a seat, and we'll eat."
"I'm starved." He pulled out a chair beside Matthew.
The front door banged, and he rose to greet Rick. The two had been in the Marines together before Rick got out and came home to West Texas. Brendan had gone on to bigger and better things with the intelligence division, or so he'd thought at the time. Now, looking at the happy family around him, Brendan wasn't so sure what he should decide this time. He could take a medical discharge or fight it and end up pushing papers the rest of his military career.
Rick hadn't changed much in the ten years they'd been friends. There were a few more lines around his blue eyes, but his rangy form was just as lean and muscular as ever.
As Brendan shook Rick's hand, he noticed another figure behind him. Lauren, the woman from the front yard. Their gazes locked for a moment, then she ducked her head and went to pull out the chair at the other end of the table.
Rick glanced her way. "Lauren, he's not as surly as he seems. Smile, Brendan. I know you know how."
Brendan blinked, then managed a grin. "I promise not to bite."
Lauren's gaze came up, and a tiny smile lifted her lips. She was really a knockout up close. Perfect olive skin and eyes fringed with thick lashes.
"Where you from, Lauren?" He put the question out with practiced charm.
She bit her lip and looked down at her plate. "Dallas area."
What was she hiding? He could sniff out deception a mile away. "You don't have much of a Texas accent."
"Originally from Indiana. I've just been in Dallas three years."
"You're a horse trainer?"
Her nod came, barely discernible. "I love horses."
Rick pulled out a chair beside his son. "She brought a stallion with her. We've already had a neighbor ask to use him as a stud. He's gorgeous."
A genuine smile brightened Lauren's face. "I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. Everyone was afraid of him, but he's a sweetheart."
Allie unfolded her napkin. "I don't know about that. He won't let me within five feet of him. You've got a special touch, Lauren. No horse seems able to resist you. You've got our horses eating out of your palm already. And the children as well. You're like a Pied Piper. I thought we'd have to get rid of Jilly, but she's as docile as can be now."
"I'm glad to be here. It's a wonderful haven."
Brendan considered Bluebird Ranch his haven, too, a place where he could be himself with an old and trusted friend, but what was she running from? There was a darkness in her eyes, some kind of suffering that made him curious. He'd ask Rick about her tonight.CHAPTER 2
The guy put her nerves on end. As soon As the Bailey family moved to the living room and turned on a Christmas special for little Matthew, Lauren said her good nights and escaped to the sky sprinkled with stars. It was like looking at her own personal Christmas lights. The gravel crunched under her feet as she hurried to her room in the barn. The Baileys had offered her a room in the bunkhouse, but it was full of all guys, and she felt much more comfortable here amid the sweet scent of hay and the pungent odor of horse.
She paused to rub Angel's soft nose, then went to her room and shut the door behind her. The ten-by-twelve space held a cot, an upside-down crate that served as a bedside table, and a battered white dresser. A door opened into a tiny bathroom with a rust-stained shower barely big enough to turn around in. She'd loved it immediately.
She pulled on pajamas, washed off her makeup, then braided her hair before grabbing her e-reader and crawling into bed. She'd barely flipped it on when a noise caused her to bolt upright. Someone is out there.
She scrambled out of bed and stepped to the door. Was that breathing on the other side? Her heart thumped hard in her chest. Someone was there, she just knew it. She glanced around for a weapon. Once upon a time, she'd had a gun — until she pawned it. Now all she had were her cuticle scissors, but she was strong. If she jabbed the point into someone, it might be enough to allow her to get away.
She grabbed the small scissors from the top of her bedside table, then stepped back to the door. She held up the scissors and flung open the door. Brendan took a step back.
His eyes widened when they took in the cuticle scissors in her upraised hand. His lips twitched. "If I wanted to hurt you, you'd be on the floor in five seconds flat. Those little things wouldn't help you at all."
"I could put your eye out."
He shoved his hands in his pockets and leaned against the doorjamb. "I didn't mean to scare you."
"You could have called out. What do you want?"
"I asked Rick about you. Last name is Everman, not a common name. I knew you looked familiar. Law enforcement has been looking for you for two months in connection with the death of that jockey Dustin Windsor."
How did he know this? It wasn't like the search was on national news stations. Her throat too tight to speak, she brushed past him and went to check on Angel. Brendan followed her, crowding into her personal space so far that she whirled and shoved his chest. "Back off!"
His brows rose. "You can't blame me for wanting to protect my friends. This a stolen racehorse?"
"I paid for him!" But her cheeks heated when she realized she'd admitted he was a racehorse. "He's past his prime now. They were going to put him down. They blamed him for Dustin's death, but it wasn't his fault." She hated herself for the whine in her tone and straightened her shoulders. "I was happy to buy him and bring him to a new life. My new life."
"As long as there aren't still remnants of your old life that might threaten my friends." His mild voice held a steely undertone. "Why are you here?"
"Did you say anything to Rick and Allie?"
"Not yet. I wanted to hear from you."
"I wasn't guilty of anything. I just wanted to get Angel away from there."
"Innocent, huh? That's what everyone says."
His cynicism made her throat close. People always believed the worst. She believed everyone deserved to be heard, but this cold-eyed man wasn't going to listen to a thing she said. He'd judged her and found her guilty.
She swallowed hard. "You can't tell anyone I'm here. If you do, my death will be on your head."
He straightened. "Your death?"
She nodded and blinked back the moisture in her eyes. "They think I can identify Dustin's killer. I started getting threatening calls."
"Tell me what happened."
She turned and rubbed Angel's soft nose. The scent of horse soothed her and drained the tension from her shoulders. How on earth did she tell this stranger her fears?
"The best thing is to turn yourself in and tell what you know."
"Best for whom? My own cousin —" Angel must have felt her returning tension because he jerked his head away and snorted. She held out her hand. "Easy, boy."
"What about your cousin?"
"Nothing." This intense man wouldn't understand her sense of betrayal. He clearly dealt only with the facts. Her eyes burned again and she looked away.
His hand touched her shoulder, and she turned to look at him. Did she dare believe the bit of sympathy in his brown eyes? Or was it merely a ploy to get her to open up?
"I know a little about betrayal. Who is this cousin and what did he do?"
Betrayal. That's why this hurt so much. She saw the truth of his own pain in his eyes. Maybe she could trust him to get it. She so badly needed to confide in someone. It was hard to force this pain down.
"She." She cleared her throat. "Tonia was with the man who broke into the barn the night Dustin was killed. I saw her, but I didn't tell the police."
She shrugged. "I didn't want anything bad to happen to her."
"But she claimed you let that man in. To throw suspicion off herself?"
"I guess." She looked down at her hands. "I would never rat her out. Even now, you're the first person I've told."
"Tell me exactly what you saw the night of the murder." He was all business now with his expression somber and intent.
She closed her eyes, remembering that night, then opened them and stared into his handsome face. "I was the stable manager and trainer for Charles McLeod. I was working late that night because of a foaling mare. I had the lights off to soothe her, and I was tired since I'd been up the night before too. I must have dozed off. A noise awakened me, and I got up and went to the window. I saw Tonia with a guy in a big black truck. When I turned back around, I saw a hooded figure moving quickly through the barn. Then I saw Dustin lying on the hay. The hay was wet with blood."
"I thought you said there were no lights."
"The moon was shining through the windows." She wet her lips. "The man strode past me, and I saw a hypodermic needle in his hand. He was heading toward McLeod's prize horse, Elijah. Angel was already going crazy and striking Dustin with his hooves. I think the man had already given him a shot of something."
"This man, he didn't see you?"
"Not at first. I looked around for a weapon and grabbed a shovel. When he got close enough, I hit him with it. When he fell to the ground, I ran to the door and shouted for help." She well remembered the terror of that night, the way her scream echoed into the cold night air, the way the lights flashed on in the bunkhouse and men came running. The shrieking of the fire trucks out on a fire run somewhere. "I took McLeod back to the barn where I'd knocked out the intruder, but he was gone."
"I assume the police came that night?"
She nodded. "I told them what I'd seen and who all was there. But the next day when they asked what she'd seen, Tonia told them she'd seen me with some guy, that I'd let him in the barn. That I was involved."
"Why would she do that? What motive would she have for lying?"
A wealth of reasons. How did she even start to tell him about Tonia's building jealousy? "It's complicated. I doubt you could understand. I don't even get it."
"Her one goal in life was to marry well. She wanted a man with money and prestige, and she seemed to have found him in Steve McAvoy."
"The state senator?"
"That's the one. She thought he was going to propose." She looked down at her hands. "Then she brought him to the track and we met. After that he wouldn't leave me alone. I told him I wasn't interested, but he wouldn't listen." The words rushed out, faster and faster. "He started sending me flowers, candy, jewelry. I refused all of it, but then he started waiting for me by my car every night."
"Tonia found out?"
Excerpted from All Is Calm, All Is Bright by Colleen Coble. Copyright © 2015 Colleen Coble. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsAll Is Calm, 1,
All Is Bright, 99,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Love colleen coble love bluebird ranch . More please .
Delightful novellas. One set on Bluebird Ranch the other at Tidewater Inn. I loved them both.
I enjoyed Colleen Coble's book of two Christmas novellas, All Is Calm, All Is Bright. The book was a quick read with a fast paced story line that I kept me entertained. The first novella is about Lauren Everman, an avid horse trainer who has a checkered past and witnesses a crime. No one believes her, so she decides to change towns in the dead of night carrying a horse with her that she leaves a check for on her nightstand. She arrives at Bluebird Ranch that welcomes foster children. She begins a new life there until someone figures out she knows to much. A guest of the ranch owners arrives and sparks begin to fly along with danger at each turn for Lauren. The second novella was my favorite. All Is Bright is about Delilah Carter who is the manager at Tidewater Inn in Hope Beach, North Carolina. Right from the beginning of the story, Delilah's car is rammed into the ocean. She barely survives. With the help of the local sheriff, Tom Bourne, the two become intermingled in mystery and make it a point to find who wants to kill Delilah.
Colleen Coble really knows how to kick up the suspense in her books! I haven't read much of hers, so I would consider this one of my first times reading her books, and she kept me interested in the story. However, within the shorter length of the novella, things wrapped up a lot more quickly than normal. I would love to try reading one of her full-length books to see how much I would enjoy her writing style in that format. A nice quick read for the Christmas season! *I received this book as a part of the TNZ Fiction Guild. My review is my own personal opinion.*
Colleen Coble has done it again, she keeps me turning the pages until there are no more, and then I can’t wait for her next book. These are novellas from two of previous book settings, the Bluebird Ranch and Tidewater Inn, and yes we have met some of these characters before, so you are in for a real treat. There is romance, weddings, and reuniting with old friends, and of course, danger around each corner, and not know where it is coming from. Who or whom would want to kill these sweet people? It takes awhile to find out, and while there are a few hints along the way, you still keep wondering and hoping no one we love will be murdered. Pick this one up for a time when you want to savor and have a little time for reading, you can read each one in a single sitting, but all can be read alone. Enjoy. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson and was not required to give a positive review.
I am a Colleen Coble fan and really enjoyed these two novellas! The first novella, All is Calm, ties in with Coble’s Lonestar series. Brendan and Lauren are great characters, and their story is sweet and suspenseful. The second novella, All is Bright, ties in to the Hope Beach series. Brimming with intrigue, I really enjoyed Delilah and Tom’s story. It was a pleasure to revisit both settings in these entertaining stories. Even if you haven’t enjoyed either series, these novellas are easily enjoyed on their own. Filled with drama, danger, and romance, this collection is a great read for fans of romantic suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.
Two of my very favorite Colleen Coble series are the Lonestar & Hope Beach books. So you can imagine how excited I was to read these two novellas that continue the settings and spotlight some secondary characters from the novels. In All is Calm, much to my delight, Rick’s friend Brendan gets his own story. Brendan popped up here and there during the series, lending his intel expertise when the need arose, and he always intrigued me. All is Bright brings together all my favorite characters from the Hope Beach series – there’s a Christmas wedding to attend, after all! If you haven’t read either of these series, don’t worry. You won’t be lost. But the settings and the characters are much better appreciated when you already have the background in place. Novellas are by nature short and sweet, but – while both of these are no exception – Colleen Coble has managed to pack a whole lot of punch into such small packages! The suspense is top-notch and the solution to the mystery isn’t obvious. Even though Brendan and Lauren have a bit of insta-love going on in All is Calm, Tom and Delilah in All is Bright are finally acknowledging the feelings that have been building for a while. I actually liked the “case” better in All is Calm and preferred the romance in All is Bright. With the best of both worlds, I was a happy Colleen Coble fan with this collection :) Bottom Line: Both novellas take place around Christmas but neither fall prey to the saccharine pitfall common to books of the season. (Not that I have anything against the sugary-sweet Christmas novel. I’m a fan of those too! These just weren’t.) Fans of both series will appreciate the return of familiar settings and characters, but readers new to the game will easily be able to follow along with no confusion. A perfect blend of romance and suspense, despite the short lengths, All is Calm and All is Bright are a great choice for a fireside Christmas read! (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
2 short stories that are perfect for Christmas! Both are love stories with suspense. In All Is Calm, Lauren is in trouble after a hockey at the stable she works at ends up dead. Someone is still out after her and Brendan, a Special Ops Intel man helps her to find out who is responsible. Lauren and Brendan become close long the way. In All Is Bright, Delilah, manager of Tidewater Inn is being pursued by someone out to get revenge. The Sheriff, Tom does all he can to protect her and find out who is behind the attacks. There is no denying that Delilah and Tom have chemistry. I was provided this book courtesy of publisher Thomas Nelson and The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.
All is Calm All is Bright by Colleen Coble is a set of novellas perfect for kicking up your holiday spirit. The first, All is Calm, is based on characters from her Lonestar Series. Lauren Everman is wrongly accused and painfully rejected by her cousin, Tina. She returns to Bluebird Ranch, a place that once acted as her sanctuary as a child. There she hides to avoid the killer determined to silence her witness of his murderous acts. Brendan Waddell returns to Bluebird Ranch to do some healing and life evaluating. It’s always proven to be a place of refuge for him but he can’t ignore the wrongful doings that somehow keep pointing in Lauren’s direction. Together, Lauren and Brendan must find the real killer to clear Lauren’s name, if only they can keep her alive long enough to do it. I absolutely loved this story and found myself teary eyed with the tenderness the couple shows toward an orphaned girl. It’s a wonderful Christmas story streaked with suspense, mystery and folded together with budding romance. Colleen Coble is known for her incredible talent of storytelling and this novella is a taste of what her books bring. All is Bright takes us back to the characters from Hope Beach and the Tidewater Inn. It’s a great tale of secrets exposed, hearts renewed and a killer who wants to destroy it all. Delilah is content with her life, at least she thinks she is, but love is all around her and her biological clock is ticking. While helping Elin plan her wedding, Delilah finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer determined to exact his revenge. Sheriff Tom Bourne is out to stop the killer and protect Delilah. Unexpectedly, two friends working together to bring the killer to justice, find themselves entangled in startling romance. This story also had me teary eyed over Delilah’s magnificent Christmas gift. All is Bright is a suspenseful tale that will have you flipping pages like crazy! Colleen Coble has once again, hit it out of the park with these delightful Christmas novellas. I received this book from the Fiction Guild at Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here. https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/2015-book-reviews/all-is-calm-all-is-bright-by-colleen-coble/
All is Calm All is Bright is a collection of two novellas from best-selling author Colleen Coble. The first, All is Calm, is set in Texas at Bluebird Ranch, so those of you who read and loved her Lonestar series will be delighted to travel back to this special ranch and watch one of the former kids find love of her own. In All is Bright we get to travel back to Tidewater Inn and see the manager find love. In both novellas the characters you came to love in other books make appearances, there's a sweet romance, and best of all a mystery. Somehow, Colleen crams all of this into these bite-sized stories you can read in a sitting.
'Tis the season for holiday entertainment, and if Hallmark channel movies are your thing, I've got a book to recommend. All is Calm, All is Bright by Colleen Coble is a two-novella collection set in two of the author's most popular fictional settings, Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach. Though I have not personally read many of the stories set in either place, I enjoyed these two short stories. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.) They are short and sweet reads to get you in the holiday spirit. In All is Calm, Lauren flees to the ranch she remembers fondly from childhood to escape danger surrounding a death she witnessed. There, she meets Brendan, a friend of the ranch's owner, who is recovering from a military injury. Together, they try to get to the bottom of the mystery, and in the meantime, they discover a mutual attraction. In All is Bright, Delilah is in the midst of planning a friend's wedding when her car is run off the road. Connecting that incident with the strange phone calls she's been receiving, she is forced to admit there is more to the threats than a simple prank. Helping her uncover the source of the threat is Tom, the local sheriff, a widower who has been interested in Delilah for a while. He aims to keep her safe from danger and offer her an unforgettable gift on Christmas, if she survives till then. Both stories remind me of why I've enjoyed Coble's writing in the past. Sweet romance with a side of suspense makes for a page-turning read. Throw in the holiday settings and you've got a great recipe for Christmas reading.
All is Calm, All is Bright is a nice short read. Due to the fact that it’s a novella that seems like an obvious statement I suppose. But I will point out that at Christmas time there usually isn’t time enough to really sink your mind into a big series. I enjoyed this book for that fact. Do prepare yourself for that quickness though. There isn’t a lot of build and you are just kind of thrown into the middle. If you do as much reading as I do, it’s a little frustrating to be honest. That is all me and may not bother many others. I did enjoy reading it and having a book I could put down and pick up at quick intervals. I also enjoyed the settings they were in and the characters were very easy to imagine. Coble knows what she is doing and does that well. I have no problem recommending this book. * Received book for review purposes. However I am under no obligation to read or review and my words are my own*
Great Christmas novellas. Within its pages you'll find mystery, suspense, encouragement, love and new beginnings.
I once read a novel by Colleen Coble, several years ago now, and while I hardly put it down, for some reason I never read anything else by the author. There was nothing wrong with the book; I just didn't look up anything else she had written. Recently, the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild sent me a two-novella combo by Colleen Cobke called "All Is Calm, All Is Bright". I was glad for another opportunity to try out this author, and had been eyeing this collection anyway. (I'm going to take a moment here to just stop and marvel over how the Fiction Guild reads my mind and sends me exactly what I've been wanting to read. I'm so amazed!) This book has two stories, as I've mentioned, and they are not related to each other, but I get the impression that they are related to some of her other series. They are packaged as a Christmas combo, and while there is nothing distinctly Christmassy about either of them aside from the mention of them being set in and around December, I liked that they grabbed by interest right away, and were short enough to read in one sitting. This aspect of it is perfect for the holiday season, when we may not have enough time to read a full novel, but have an afternoon to read a novella. Both of these stories are action-packed mysteries, and they had significant amounts of drama which was right on the line of being over-dramatic, since the stories were so short, but they were still good. The characters were solid and the plot well thought out and executed in such a tight amount of pages, and the Christmas setting was nice to read about this time of year. I would recommend reading this book this season, and perhaps considering purchasing it for someone else for Christmas. Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
All Is Calm is a stand alone novella that spins off the Lonestar Sanctuary series. A few of the characters from the series appear in this novella, but there isn't enough to even really consider it more than a tag on--meaning, that you can read this without worrying about needing to have been familiar with the other books. I liked the characters, but I thought this novella did need some more flushing out of the back stories. Compared the other novella, this one did feel a bit more rushed. I still liked it and think that anyone who enjoys the Lonestar Sanctuary series will want to read this one too. All Is Bright was a nice "extra" to go with the Hope Beach series. I loved reading about Delilah and giving her a happily ever after. She was a minor character in the other books, though always present, so it was lovely to meet her again--this time in the leading lady spot. While her story was short, I didn't feel like it was too quick. I think enough was shared for you to know the characters and travel the story with them. I loved the ending and felt that it was a perfect tag along for the Tidewater Inn series. I loved revisiting the inn and seeing some of my favorite characters again. My biggest concern when I received the book, was that it was going to be heavy in the Christmas season. I mean it's a Christmas Collection! I do not celebrate Christmas, so I really try to avoid books that ooze the holiday. And this one had words from a popular Christmas song in its title and was bright red with a Christmas tree! I was worried this review was going to be a flop because of it being all about Christmas! BUT I gave it a go and was happy to see that while the novellas each take place around the time of the holiday, the holiday itself was just a backdrop for the plot and didn't overwhelm the story--and really only played a small part in the book itself. All in all, this book is really for those who already KNOW the Lonestar Sanctuary and Hope Beach series. I think that you really need to be familiar with these series to fully enjoy the book and its characters. Yes it can stand alone, but it's so much better having already met several of the people before and knowing their backstory. There is a Christmas setting for each book, and references to the holiday, but it's very much in the background until about the very end of each novella. The book is very good, but I didn't love it. Part of that was just because it was a Christmas setting book, but mostly just because I like longer thicker books with more meat. LOL. I would still recommend (with reservations) to anyone who wants to read more of the Lonestar Sanctuary and Hope Beach (Tidewater Inn) books. If you are a fan of those series, you won't want to miss this one. **I received this book as part of a book blogger program in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for my review, nor was I required to write a positive review.**
Two romantic stories I really enjoyed. Both stories had people running from something. Both had a wonderful story to tell. I really enjoyed visiting Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach for this holiday romance and yes, a little mystery too. I'd recommend this book by Colleen Coble, a good clean romance that brought out the joy of Christmas and family. I was gifted an advance copy from Fiction Guild for an honest review.
This was my first time reading Colleen Coble’s work. I can see why she has so many reading fans. ;) I’m really curious now to get my hands on a full-length novel of hers. These two Christmas novellas made the perfect holiday bundle. They were both light and entertaining reads, just perfect for a cozy night by the fire. I read the entire book in one night! All is Calm was intriguing from the start and sweetly romantic. I liked several of the characters, especially Brendan. ;) I loved the idea of a ranch pairing abused children with horses. What a neat concept! I didn’t see some twists coming and I applaud the author for how she pieced it all together. Christmas was a tiny backdrop for the story, but it fit nicely. All is Bright felt a bit more mysterious to me. It started off with a dramatic entrance and caught my attention. I flew through the pages to uncover the secrets. The suspense felt just right. I’m really becoming a fan of this genre! ;) Delilah was a likeable character, very sweet and considerate of others. I didn’t quite connect with her and Tom as much as I did the previous couple, but I was still rooting for them to reach their “Happily-Ever-After”. All is Calm, All is Bright - My Review | The Engrafted WordFor me, sometimes a “light read” means a sweet and simple story that’s easy to read, but lacks a certain depth. Those stories aren’t necessarily bad. Each story has its place. But this Christmas collection was much more. It was short and sweet, but it still offered a believable romance and intriguing plot, even with less pages to deliver the tale. I do prefer full-length novels, but this novella collection was enjoyable and certainly showed me the quality of the writer. I will be watching for more of her stories! This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and the TNZ Fiction Guild for my copy of “All is Calm, All is Bright”. Also, I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for a copy of “All is Bright”. ;)
This is the first book I've read by Colleen Coble. I have to admit that the "contemporary romance" genre isn't my favorite. I find all the stunningly handsome/beautiful people with mysterious/tragic backgrounds are a bit too saccharine for my taste. But if you're looking for a light read and like something with a bit of Christmas tinsel, this might be just the thing. In the first story, an off-duty Special Ops Marine bumps into a witness on the run at a camp for hurting foster kids. He predictably saves her life and wins her heart. In the second, a grieving widower who happens to be the local sheriff saves the life of a lonely orphaned B&B manager. By the epilogue, she's no longer an orphan or lonely. Some common threads in both of these stories are that the bad guys are REALLY bad, and get the punishment they deserve. (They were also too easy for me to guess who they were.) And the good folks, who are known for protecting their hearts and always keeping people at arm's length, all fall in love pretty hard and fast. Just not realistic in my view. But the character are likable, and the settings are pleasantly described. If you need a break from your Christmas busy-ness and like Coble's "happily ever after" style, you will certainly enjoy this book.
I have only read some of the Hope beach books, none of the ranch books. Therefore I was not fully aware of each of the characters or the history of the books. That being said, it was still a pretty easy book to follow. Each of the novellas in the book had a whirlwind attraction (keyword novella here) and an action packed storyline. For me this is perfect for this busy time of year as I don't have time to sit and read a full length book or two. There were some twists in each that I didn't really see and I enjoyed trying to figure out what would happen next. All in all if you are looking for a quick, clean read for the holidays this will fit the bill!
I haven't read any of Colleen Cobles books before. I was given these two novels for an honest review. All is Calm is about Lauren and Brendan at Bluebird Ranch. Bread an Waddell is injured and has no idea what this means for him in the future with Special Ops. Lauren Everman has just left her job after being accused of murder after see witnessed it. The two have both come to Bluebird Ranch, but Brendan is skilled at sniffing out the truth and wonders what's up, when Lauren arrives with questionable circumstances. Can two lost souls find love, hope and security among each other. Together can Brendan and Lauren find the truth behind the murder before the culprits threatening the lives of those protecting the ranch. All is Bright is the story of Delilah and Tom....Delilah Carter is the manager of the Tidewater Inn for years now. She is an incredible organizer, she has been asked by Elin Summerall to plan a Christmas wedding. As she starts her planning she is ran off the road, endangering her life. Fortunately the sheriff Tom Bourne is on the job. The township of Hope Beach know that the sheriff has had feeling for Delilah, so they are eager to throw them together if it keeps her safe. As a determined criminal is after Delilah. The sheriff must protect her from danger, hoping it wouldn't ruin his Christmas surprise he has for her. My compliments to Colleen Coble!! She offers amazing stores, great characters even in a shortened novel.
This is a book of two stories. They both are mysteries at Christmas time and of course a romance buds in each. I really enjoyed them both. I was in the mood for a short story and this book fit the bill.
Christmas came a little early for me this year, in the form of two great novellas from Colleen Coble. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories, even without having read the Lonestar and Hope Beach series which these are tied to. They were the perfect mix of romance and danger. If you've never read anything from Colleen Coble, these novellas would be a great way to try out a new author and preview a few of her different series. Plot: All is Calm- Marine Brendan Waddell is visiting friends at the Bluebird Ranch, recovering from an injury. Lauren Everman spent some time at the ranch as a child, and when she rescues a horse that's in danger of being put down, she has nowhere else to go. When it becomes clear that danger has followed Lauren, it's up to Brendan to keep her safe and figure out what's going on. All is Bright- When someone runs Delilah Carter off the road, she's not sure what's going on. When Sheriff Tom Bourne learns about it, along with other incidents, he's determined to get to the bottom of things and keep her alive long enough to ask her on a date like he's been wanting to do. Characters: It's always hard to find well-developed characters in novellas, but I thought the characters in both stories were well written. They had enough back stories to make them interesting and real. I enjoyed Delilah and Tom's story a little more, as they already knew each other, making the romance more believable. Recommendation: I'd highly recommend this book to those who enjoy romantic suspense. They definitely made me want to read the rest of the books in both these series. These would be a great way to get into the Christmas mood. Rating: 4/5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to visit Thomas Nelson & Zondervan's Facebook page to enter the giveaway for both of Colleen Coble's Novella collections: Silent Night, Holy Night and All is Calm, All is Bright. http://on.fb.me/1Nv8fim
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.
Getting myself in the Christmas spirit, I really enjoyed All is Calm All is Bright by Colleen Coble. Two novellas full of murder, mystery, romance and holiday magic. In All is Calm, Lauren, a suspect in a murder, hides away at a ranch where she lived as a foster child. Brendan visits his friends at the ranch while he recuperates from an injury he received on his job. As mystery and fear surround Lauren, Brendan tries to uncover the truth of the murder that Lauren inadvertently comes upon in the stable where she is a horse trainer. In All is Bright we travel back to Tidewater Inn where Delilah is manager. When she is run off the road and almost killed, Tom as the sheriff, gets involved in searching out the perpetrator before it's too late. He's always had a soft spot for Lauren and wants to protect her at all costs. The magic of Christmas takes a temporary backseat as these two mysteries are investigated to find out the who and the why. As each story unfolds, so does the romance. Colleen Coble once again takes me on a heart pounding ride, full of intrigue, and with the added sparkle of Christmas as a bonus. I would find it hard to believe that anyone would be disappointed after reading these novellas. I received this book as a member of the Fiction Guild for my honest review, which I have given.
"All is Calm All is Bright" has romance, suspense, and mystery all wrapped up within the Christmas setting. Things happen quickly in the stories which is expected in a novella. I liked the characters in both stories and rooted for them to be able to solve the case and get the bad guys. In "All is Calm", the mystery kept me guessing up until the end, but I had guessed what was going on in "All is Bright". I still didn't know all the details of what was going to happen, so the story wasn't totally predictable. It was fun to have a quick and enjoyable book to fill a day. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order for me to review it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.