December 11, 2015

All Is Calm, All Is Bright by Colleen Coble {A Book Review}

Colleen Coble is one of my most favorite Christian authors. I love her style and she writes some of the only contemporary Christian books that I like. She has a several series that I love--so when I received her newest book All is Calm, All is Bright (a novella duet) from The Fiction Guild team, I was tickled to discover each of the stories referenced a previous series from her collections---however, I was worried about the book being a Christmas collection. I typically avoid any books with a Christmas theme--so I was concerned that this book review was going to be over before it began, but I decided to give it a try and hope for the best.



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All is Calm, All is Bright is a Christmas Collection from Colleen Coble, her latest release to the market. The book consists of two novellas, each revisiting a beloved series in Colleen's best sellers.

All is Calm takes us back to Bluebird Ranch, of the Lonestar Sanctuary series. Here we meet Lauren Everman, a former foster kid of the ranch, and Brendan Waddell,  a Special Ops Intel man and former marine. Lauren has run to the ranch after witnessing a murder and needing to lay low. Brendan is visiting his friends at the ranch, recovering from an on-the-job injury.

When they meet, Brendan's gut tells him Lauren is running from something and he's going to figure out what it is...while Lauren just wants to lie low and stay alive. Trouble follows Lauren to the ranch and now Brendan has to do whatever it takes to keep the ranch and Lauren safe.

All is Bright allows us to revisit the beloved The Hope Beach series for a Christmas wedding! This time we get to learn more about the manager of Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter and the ever faithful sheriff Tom Bourne. Tom's always had a soft spot for Delilah, and when Delilah's car is forced off the road, and into the ocean, he's on high alert and ready to protect her. Delilah is alone in the world after surviving a horrible accident when she was just a child and is use to taking care of herself. She reluctantly decides to admit that she's been getting strange phone calls that might be more than pranks, considering she just got run off the road. Now it's up to Tom to make sure nothing happens to her--and to find out why someone is trying to kill this beautiful quiet woman.

What Are My Thoughts?

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 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.

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. 

All is Calm, All is Bright
By Colleen Coble
Available on Paperback and Kindle

***

Well, while I will be passing this book on because it IS a Christmas themed setting, I think that anyone who doesn't care about the Christmas setting will love the book. Colleen Coble did well even for two short novellas. I can't wait to see what she had up her sleeve next (besides the much anticipated Mermaid Moon of course!)

Here are some more of my favorites by Colleen Coble!


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