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review 2016-10-03 15:03
Christmas Comes to Main Street
Christmas Comes to Main Street (The Briar Creek Series) - Olivia Miles This was such a great Christmas story. It was full-on holiday theme, but without getting overly sweet (unless you count the goodies Kara makes in her bakery - they sound delish)! Our leading characters had more in common they they first think - especially after a very bumpy first impression. Both are driven, business-oriented, and out to prove themselves to the world. But they have different ways of doing that. It was fun to see how two people were so similar and yet so very different in how they went about getting things done. Christmas was everywhere, from the decorations at the B&B, the bakery's goodies, and the all important (seriously - very important) holiday house competition. This competition sounds like fun, but with a prize on the line, it gets very serious very quickly - but thankfully our couple doesn't let it get in the way - too much. All these little holiday touches set such a perfect stage for the romance. Christmas Comes to Main Street will definitely put you in the holiday mood with lovely characters, a great setting, and the perfect romance. I think I'll have to check out more from Briar Creek, because this was definitely a winner. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Source: www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/10/christmas-comes-to-main-street-by.html
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review 2015-06-15 17:59
Mistletoe on Main Street -- Olivia Miles (Forever - Oct 2014)
Mistletoe on Main Street (The Briar Creek Series) - Olivia Miles

Series: Briar Creek (Book 1)

Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .

 

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.

 

Good book. Grace had moved away from Briar Creek to New York City years earlier to pursue her dream of a writing career. In doing so, she left behind the man she loved. Now she's back in Briar Creek for the holidays, and to make some decisions about her future. But first she has to face her past. Luke never left their hometown. He's now the principal of the elementary school, and a widower. Having Grace back in town is stirring up unwelcome memories and emotions, and making him think about past choices.

 

Overall, I liked Grace. She's come back to Briar Creek for the first time in five years, except for her father's funeral a few months earlier. Her life is currently in turmoil. She has broken her engagement as she discovered that she and her fiance had different ideas for their future. She has been living with a friend, sleeping on the sofa, since then. Her writing career has stalled, as her last couple books were not well received. Now she has discovered that her father's beloved bookstore, a place with some of her best memories, has been closed since his death. All she needs to make things worse is to run into Luke, the man who broke her heart. Unfortunately, with Briar Creek being such a small town, she can't avoid him. She's been wondering if she made the right decision all those years ago, and being home just intensifies those feelings. Seeing Luke again shows her that her feelings for him never really went away, even though she tried to pretend that they did. Every time that they are together she's reminded of what she left behind. The attraction is still there, as are the good memories. I loved seeing her take her memories of the bookstore and look at reviving it, and then expanding it. It gave her a new focus for her life and a reason to stay in Briar Creek. 

 

The reviving of the relationship between Grace and Luke was not easy. Both of them have hurt feelings from their breakup. Grace had been left feeling that Luke neither understood or supported her need to leave Briar Creek and experience the larger world. When she came back to see him a few months later, to see about reconciliation, he rejected her rather cruelly. Meanwhile, Luke had also felt that she didn't understand his need to stay in his hometown, where his life and career made him happy. He had forced himself to move on, and found a woman who wanted the same things he did. Grace's first visit back made him question his choices, which made him angry. He didn't believe that Grace would be happy back in town after giving up her dream, so his rejection of her was not very nice. He went on and married the other woman, who died a couple years later.

 

I was frustrated through a lot of the dealings between Grace and Luke. Grace was actually willing to see what might happen between them, after their first few encounters showed her that the feelings and attraction were still there. She didn't have any problem knowing that he had also loved his wife, feeling that there was room for both of them in his heart. But Luke would blow hot and cold. First he would be sweet and let the attraction take control, then he would suddenly pull back, feeling like he was betraying his late wife. It turns out that he is dealing with a boatload of guilt over the fact that he had still had some feelings for Grace when he married Helen. He felt that he had ruined their marriage, even though she had never known and had never given any indication that she was unhappy. Since her death he hasn't been able to let go of those feelings, to the point that he won't allow himself to move on. It all comes to a head when letting go of something from the past would make it possible for Grace to stay in Briar Creek, and Luke can't do it, in spite of his professed love for Grace. At that point I wanted to beat him with a blunt object and tell her she was better off without him. I liked that she had the strength of will to go after her dream in spite of him. Of course, he does eventually see the light, but it was almost too late.

 

Outside of the relationship with Luke, I loved seeing the changes that Grace went through. It was great to see her new appreciation of Briar Creek and what a big part of her life it really was. She also had to repair her relationships with her sisters, after her long absence and the death of their father. I liked seeing her reconnect with them. Her plans for the bookstore gave her a new appreciation for Anna, the chef and cafe owner. I also liked the way that she was there for her sister Jane, who was going through some issues of her own. I also liked the way that she formed a new bond with her mother, and how it helped them both through their grief. I'm looking forward to the next book.

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review 2014-10-04 23:56
Mistletoe on Main Street (Olivia Miles)
Mistletoe on Main Street (The Briar Creek Series) - Olivia Miles

Christmas, small-town romance, and second chances … sound like a recipe for a story I would like. Plus, the cover is so pretty. And who says I can’t start reading a Christmas story in September anyway? Right?

Unfortunately, while it is still pretty good, I thought the story moved rather too slowly for me to sympathize with Grace and Luke and their story to return back to love. My issue was mostly on the reasons of they broke up in the first place. I thought there was too much bitterness coming from both: Grace thought that Luke forgot about her too easily after she decided to leave their hometown by marrying another woman. Meanwhile, Luke was overcome with guilt because he never did love his ex-wife (who died two years previously) as much as he loved Grace. They had issues, and for me, it went on for a bit too long for me to be able to believe in their reunion.

Both Luke and Grace also lacked that sizzling chemistry which could make me root for them. Also, I wasn’t such a huge fan of Grace when she made that move towards Luke when he was already engaged and then angry at Luke for not taking the step. Although, I wasn’t a big fan of Luke either for being rather undecided with the whole thing. I guess both characters didn’t impress me much.

However, I did like the secondary characters in this, i.e. Grace’s siblings: The fiery Anna, who owned a café and seemed to have this vibe of a romance-history-never-told with Luke’s cousin, Mark. And the kind-hearted Jane, who in this book suffered from a failed marriage when she found out that her husband cheated on her. Those two seemed to have a more interesting story, and I would love to follow their journey to happily ever after.

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review 2014-10-01 18:10
Mistletoe On Main Street
Mistletoe on Main Street (The Briar Creek Series) - Olivia Miles

 


Title: Mistletoe on Main Street
Author: Olivia Miles
Publisher: Forever
Series: The Blair Creek Series #1
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: 4.5
Review:

"Mistletoe on Main Street" by Olivia Miles

Book Description...

"Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .

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."

What I liked from this novel.....

This author really gives the reader quite a interesting place in 'Briar Creek' and definitely a good Christmas read that will keep your attention from start to the finish. The two main characters Grace and Luke will keep you entertained as they find their way through his love story. It seems like Grace after being gone five years is trying to make up her mind will she stay in Briar Creek after this Christmas holiday with her family or return to NY? Did she even have anyone waiting for her back in New York after she had dropped Derek? Then there is her father's book store that is not opened any more. What had happened after her father's death to the book store and why wasn't see told about it being closed. I found this love story was about Grace and Luke. What had happened to cause her to want to leave Briar Creek five years ago in the first place and what happened when she came back (seeing only Luke)...leaves again...then back for her father's funeral... leaves.....now back again for this Christmas holiday? In all of Grace's coming and going would she stay this time and run the book store that seems to have closed and just what all did Luke Hastings have to do in all of this? Between these two there will be a lots of drama going on. I don't want to leave out Grace's sister Jane who also seemed to have quite a bit of drama going on in her life and their mother Kathleen. I don't want to spoil it by telling too much of the story. I know I have presented a lots of questions and all of the answers will be answered in this well written novel: "Mistletoe on Main Street." I found this author really worked it with such a beautiful description of the snow during Christmas holiday season of Briar Creek really making me what to find this beautiful place with such unique characters which I found were richly developed that seemed to come alive on the pages presented as Ray, Mark, Sophie, Anna and Rosemary Hastings to name a few. Be prepared for a long read because this author leaves nothing out even a little hot sex scene.

What I also liked about this novel....

I liked how this author was able to give us a story that showed a lots of emotions along with the drama of a real love story showing the past and the present of how it is from one reaction can bring on another reaction. In the end will it be a good decision for all involved at this point in their life's? I thought this was a very interesting read and I really enjoyed how this author closes the story.
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