Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller

Title: Holiday in Stone Creek
Author: Linda Lael Miller
My Rating: B+ overall

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Stone Creek #4 & #6
Main Characters: Olivia O'Ballivan & Tanner; Ashley O'Ballivan & Jack
Release Date: October 2011 (re-issue)
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

A Stone Creek Christmas
My Rating for this book: B

Story Overview:
Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O'Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men are another story. Especially rugged architect-turned-rancher Tanner Quinn. Olivia's uncanny bond with his daughter Sophie's pony has him questioning her sanity, while she wonders if he's not just a drugstore cowboy. Then twelve-year-old Sophie conspires with Olivia to get Tanner into the spirit of Christmas. But will a holiday miracle transform the globe-trotting Tanner into a rancher—and family man—for all seasons?

My Review:
This was simply a sweet old-fashioned Christmas love story, featuring a broken-hearted widower (Tanner,)  his 12 yo daughter (Sophie,) and the town veterinarian (Olivia.) There was a special sense of holiday magic in this book because Olivia can talk to animals which leads her to a lost reindeer at the start of the story. As a result, a character named Kris Kringle appears periodically and mysteriously throughout the novel. It adds a touch of whimsy to the novel, that at times, went a bit too far for me, but it was all for Christmas fun, I know.

I really liked what Sophie added to the story, but there were times that Tanner's overprotectiveness just didn't seem to make sense. Tanner's over-the-top reaction to her supposed danger, just didn't ring true to the actual circumstances. I don't think that it would have been that hard to fix the issues within that story and made this a really superb book, but as it stands, it just seemed a little off to me.

I did enjoy this book. There were little things that niggled at me, but overall it was a fun holiday read.

At Home in Stone Creek
My Rating for this book: A-
Story Overview:

Everyone in Ashley O'Ballivan's life is marrying and starting families—except her. But why bother dating when no one can compare to Jack McCall, the man who left her heartbroken years ago? Now he's back in town —and maybe heisn't who she thinks he is.
While recovering from a dangerous mission for the DEA, security expert Jack rents a room in Ashley's bed-and-breakfast. For both their sakes, he tries to keep his distance, though neither can deny the growing spark between them. But when his past catches up with him, he'll have to leave again…just as he realizes where he's always belonged—in Stone Creek.

My Review:
This is Jack and Ashley's story. Jack is a covert contractor whom Ashley has been involved with off and on since her freshman year in college. But he comes in and out of her erratically and usually breaks her heart when he leaves suddenly (many times without even a goodbye) because of the nature of his job. In this book, his last job went badly and he is suffering the life-threatening effects of a toxin that was injected into him as he escaped. Out of his mind with the accompanying fever, he shows up on Ashley's doorstep of her B&B.

There is a lot of emotion in this book. Jack is more than likely dying from the toxin. As far as his family knows, he has been dead for many years (the military killed off his original identity so that he could work covert ops for them without endangering his family.) His illness makes him question his choices that he has made especially in regards to them.

I really enjoyed this book. Because of the nature of Jack's job and his medical condition, it read a lot like a romantic suspense novel and I LOVE those. There were moments when the story turned a bit cheesy and unbelievable (like Ashley just rolling over when older brother Brad issued his edicts...*argh*,) but overall, I truly loved the story and enjoyed it a LOT!

This book was a re-issue of two earlier novels, but I am so glad that I picked it up. These two books feature two sisters from the O'Ballivan family. Their older brother Brad has obviously been featured in a book too. I will have to figure out which book it is so I can read his story. The last O'Ballivan sibling to still need an HEA is Melissa (Ashley's twin) and her novel is A Creed in Stone Creek. I have this book and the other two Creed novels in that series, but I haven't read them yet (they were released over the summer.) I can promise you that they are moving to the top of the TBR very soon after Christmas (I have to finish all my Christmas-themed reads first.)


Aurian said...

That first story sure sounds familiair to me. The second not as much. Glad you liked it so much.

Felicia Sparks said...

I need to read these :)

I am completely reading these out of order but really liking them. Of course, I am a total LLM fan girl!