Series: Briar Creek

Guest Review: Christmas Come to Main Street by Olivia Miles

Posted October 10, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Christmas Come to Main Street by Olivia MilesReviewer: Tracy
Christmas Comes to Main Street by Olivia Miles
Series: Briar Creek #5
Also in this series: Mistletoe on Main Street, Love Blooms on Main Street
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The mistletoe is out, and the gloves are off . . .

'Tis the worst season to be single, but Kara Hastings won't let a little Christmas funk spoil the festive season. Sure, running her own bakery is a little harder than she expected, but she can handle it. And she'll prove it to a certain infuriatingly handsome, bossy Big City guy. She may be sugar and spice, but she can kick his butt twice.

Nate Griffin is in Briar Creek only for the holidays, and he refuses to fall for the whole "small town, candy cane-scented Christmas Wonderland" thing. He's more interested in the fresh-faced cookie chef who always knows exactly how to get under his skin. So when Nate challenges Kara in the town's big holiday contest, it's not just the competition that starts to heat up. If he's not careful, Kara won't just melt his icy resolve against a small-town Christmas . . . she'll melt his heart too.

Nate is a management consultant in Boston and isn’t thrilled to be in the small town of Briar Creek for the holidays.  He sent his parents on a cruise for Christmas and now he’s in town to help his aunt out at her B & B. The town is idyllic but he can’t wait to get back to Boston, his job, and making money.  He came from nothing and never running out of money is important to him.

Kara is working herself silly trying to keep up with the business at her recently opened cookie shop.  She’s happy that she’s busy but for some reason she’s not sure that the shop will stick.  She’s intrigued by Nate when she first meets him – well, more like pissed at him for running into her and breaking her cookies – literally.  Once she gets over her mad though she starts to really like the guy behind the cool career façade.  Once Nate lets the city slide off of him and starts to enjoy the town and the spirit of Christmas he becomes someone that Kara can see herself with forever.  Nate, however, won’t let himself wonder what it would be like to stay in town after the holidays.  He knows who he is and two weeks in a small town won’t change that.

This was a wonderful little Christmas story.  I really enjoyed all the different parts of the book.

Kara was overworked and edgy because she feels that everyone is judging her.  She had gone from job to job and she thinks they feel as if she’ll give up sooner rather than later.  Kara, however, is determined to make this work and won’t let anyone stand in her way.

Nate was a good man and I liked him.  Even when he was acting like a businessman and giving Kara suggestions for her business (which she wasn’t taking well) I thought he only had the best of intentions.  I liked seeing the relationship between him and his aunt as well as the relationship between him and Kara grow.  The story had a wonderful family atmosphere and I really liked that about it.

Overall it was a sweet Christmas story.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Love Blooms on Main Street by Olivia Miles

Posted August 16, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Love Blooms on Main Street by Olivia MilesReviewer: Tracy
Love Blooms on Main Street by Olivia Miles
Series: Briar Creek #4
Also in this series: Mistletoe on Main Street, Christmas Comes to Main Street
Published by Forever
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Florist Ivy Birch fantasizes about the day a man will surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Especially if that man happens to be Brett Hastings. One stolen kiss at her best friend's wedding and Ivy can't get the sexy ER doctor out of her head.

In the small town of Briar Creek, you can't avoid anyone for very long. Not that Brett has been trying to avoid Ivy. He just can't afford to let anything distract him from his work-not again. So when a hospital fundraiser throws them together, love is the last thing on his mind. But with her quick wit and sweet laugh, soon the one woman he's tried to keep at arm's length is capturing his heart...

Ivy kissed Brett at her best friend’s wedding and she’s not been able to get him out of her mind since. She fantasizes about how their meeting will go and practically has her wedding planned. The problem? It’s been seven months since that kiss and Brett hasn’t contacted her once!

When Ivy heads to the local hospital to have a check up for her diabetes who does she run into but Brett! She makes excuses for him not contacting her when he got into town but Brett’s attitude is not exactly open and friendly. He purposely veres the conversation away from even a hint of future meetings. Ivy is pissed and determined to get this man out of her mind but that doesn’t work out as well as she thought it would.

Brett left Briar Creek for college and never wanted to come back. He feels unlimited guilt that he wasn’t in town, nor did he return to town the two times his mother was sick with cancer. He tries to tell himself it was ok since his mother told him to stay put but he still feels the guilt. He has no plans on staying in Briar Creek this time either but after losing a patient in the ER in Boston he was asked to take leave and rest. He plans on leaving again but what he doesn’t plan on was Ivy. Yes, he thought of her multiple times since they kissed but he knows she’s the forever type of girl and he’s not looking for long-term. Despite that, once seeing her again, he can’t get her out of his head and finds himself seeking out her company more and more.

This was cute book and pretty fluffy all around. At first I was a bit disgusted with Ivy because she was still pining after Brett after that kiss. I mean, come on! It’s been seven months and the guy hasn’t called, texted, emailed. That’s a pretty big sign to me to move on. I was also disgusted with Brett and his attitude toward his small hometown. He was a bit of a snob when it came to the slower pace and it took me a while to warm up to him.

Eventually the pair came to terms with each other. Brett started working through his guilt and Ivy was coming to terms with her diabetes and the fact that not one of her friends knew she had it. It was strange but her diabetes brought her and Brett together and I thought it was a unique bonding experience.

There was also a side story of with a girl named Kara. She worked at her friends restaurant and was not happy. She had worked with Anna at a bakery and Anna had taught her so much – Kara loved it. When Anna and her husband Mark opened a restaurant in town she was excited about the prospect of working her baking magic on a larger scale but when Anna asked her to work for her – she made her a hostess and hired a whole other crew for the kitchens. Kara loved helping her friends but wasn’t happy. She’d planned to quit many times but when she finally got up the nerve Anna offered her another job – being the office manager. Kara wanted to say no but couldn’t let down her friend and accepted. She really wanted to bake and be free from the restaurant but she could never say no! It annoyed the heck out of me. I understand not wanting to upset your friends or leave them in a lurch with no hostess and no office manager but she was so sad! Every time her story came on the page it made my heart hurt because she just couldn’t stand up for herself. I liked that she got some recognition by the end of the book but quite frankly this portion of the story brought me down and I wish it hadn’t been a part of Ivy and Brett’s love story.

Overall the story was good and I had a good time reading it. I did have some issues with it but in the end the good outweighed the bad.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles

Posted September 29, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia MilesReviewer: Tracy
Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles
Series: Briar Creek #1
Also in this series: Love Blooms on Main Street, Christmas Comes to Main Street
Published by Forever
Publication Date: September 30th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Briar Creek's quaint shop windows, cozy homes nestled in snow, and neighborly residents are what Christmas dreams are made of--for everyone except Grace Madison. She left her hometown years ago to pursue a writing career. But when her father's death leaves his bookstore empty, Grace must return to face why she fled Vermont in the first place: Luke Hastings, who still heats her up like a shot of smoky whiskey on a cold winter's night.

Grace is back, and Luke is worried. How much has she changed as a bestselling author in the big city? What memories will she stir up? And was the choice he made five years ago the biggest mistake of his life?

Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it's time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.

 

Tracy’s review of Mistletoe on Main Street (Briar Creek #1) by Olivia Miles

Grace and Luke were great friends before they saw each other as more. They were just 14 years old or so when they started dating and continued on that path for the next 10 years. Luke had every intention of asking Grace to marry him but she kept stating how boring their town of Briar Creek was. It wasn’t exciting enough for her and she wanted the big city. Luke knew that Briar Creek was his home and he didn’t want to live anywhere else. He finally realized that in order for Grace to fulfill her dreams he was going to have to let her go. He wasn’t happy about it and frankly neither was Grace, so she ended up moving to New York City.

Grace returned 6 months after she left seeking out Luke, wanting to win him back but by that time he was with Helen who he was engaged to. It’s now 5 years later and Grace is back for the 3rd time. The first was when she returned to try and win Luke, the second was when her dad died and now she’s back for Christmas. Her sister Jane asked her to come as their mother is having such a hard time dealing with life and Christmas.

Grace plans to stay far away from Luke but that doesn’t happen. He’s doing his own mourning – for his wife Helen who died two years prior and he can’t seem to let her or his guilty feelings go. That doesn’t stop him from seeking Grace out and enjoying her company.

Grace has decisions to make. She is a well known author who didn’t get such great reviews on her last book. Her writing muse has completely escaped her, her relationship recently tanked in NY, she’s been living on a friends’ couch and now she finds out that the bookstore her father owned has been shut down since right after he died. Grace decides that she’s going to try to make the store work once again, and even expand but that involves Luke in a roundabout way. Grace decides that she not only wants the bookstore in her life and to permanently live in Briar Creek but she wants Luke back as well. The problem with that decision is that Luke isn’t necessarily on board with it. He can’t seem to get past Helen, her death and what moving forward with Grace will mean for his feelings for Helen.

The first novel in the Briar Creek series was a good one. I really liked the town a lot and loved the Christmas spirit that everyone had. The town seemed quaint, cute and made me want to visit there so I could see all of the wonderful Christmas decorations as well. 🙂

Grace and Luke had a long history. I think after being apart for 5 years they each knew they had changed from the people they were before but it took a bit of time to come to that conclusion. They still had feelings for each other that had never gone away but they were each so leery to move forward. There were trust issues as well as deciding on their level of commitment together.

For Grace moving forward meant that she needed to stay in Briar Creek and fight the fear that she was making the wrong decisions for her life. She felt guilt about being away from her family for so long and losing the last years of her father’s life by never returning from NY. I love how she finally decided to put her family first and stay in BC.

For Luke moving forward was a bit more complicated. He had loved Grace but she didn’t want the same things he did in life so he felt he needed to let her go. The fact that he loved her as much as he said he did and then was seeing someone else and engaged just 6 months later made me raise my eyebrows, that’s for sure. I mean, 6 months? I can see dating someone else but already engaged? I found that really strange. Several years into the relationship with Helen he started to doubt himself and planned to talk to her about it when he found her dead. He’d lived the last two years dealing with the guilt of not loving her enough and he had to get past that before he could be with Grace. I did think that the ending of the book, where he finally came to Grace with an open head and heart was done a bit too quickly. I wanted more groveling! He kind of made an ass of himself with her and I truly wanted him to work a little harder for her. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

In this story we also got to see parts of Grace’s sisters’ lives as well. Jane is married with a 4 year old daughter, Sophie, who is freaking adorable. I loved the parts of the book with her in it. Jane has a husband who is having an affair and the story tells us of Jane and how she deals with it all – especially around Christmas. We also got just a bit from Grace’s other sister, Anna, who runs a coffee shop. She is belligerent toward Grace at first but warms up after a time. We get the hints that there’s something going on with Anna and Luke’s cousin, Mark, but that’s not confirmed in the book.

While parts of the book were pretty intense and some parts were sad there were also happy times that put a smile on my face. Miles has gotten me invested in Briar Creek and I’m looking forward to reading the next book about Anna.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

This title is available from Forever Publishing. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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