Book Review: Ranger Station Shorts, by S.A. Stovall
Federal park ranger Carter Williams dislikes kids almost as much as he dislikes Christmas. He chose his career to escape human contact, not embrace it. And no matter how much his husband Owen tries to sway his opinion, Carter is a grump who would rather ignore the holiday. Owen’s efforts are put on hold, however, when they get a call about six missing foster kids lost in the park.
Christmas Eve takes a turn for the worse when Owen injures himself rescuing the children. Stranded in a snowstorm until dawn, Carter has to keep Owen awake and healthy while simultaneously watching six runaways. What he thinks is a nightmare come to life is actually a beautiful gift in disguise—the kids transform the ranger station into a Christmas wonderland. And before it’s all said and done, they might transform Carter’s heart as well—if he can keep his bah humbug attitude in check.
Book 2: Thirty-One Days and Legos
Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.
Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.
But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how…
Perfect for Christmas!
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
The cuteness of this story is just off the charts! I love a good Christmas story, but add in kids, a grump like Carter, and I'm in love.
““Carter,” he calls out. “You want a cup of hot chocolate?”
Book 2: Thirty-One Days and Legos
Damn! I didn't think Carter and Owen's story could get any better, but this one knocked it out the park (excuse the pun!). Not only did it have all the Christmas cheer and chaos of a real family, but it handled the issues of fostering, suicide and foster care with delicacy and respect.
Carter was just as humbug as I hoped, while the boys really helped brighten up his life. Owen was a shining star of Christmas fun and perfectly balanced the chaos and snark of Carter's POV. They worked together as a couple, as a family, and as individuals, in a way that not all books – especially of this length – can manage.
I loved every minute!
“Owen loves Christmas to a disturbing degree. If Christmas were a person, Owen would have an affair with it, there's no doubt in my mind.”
Both books were a joy to read. Perfect for sitting in front of a fire, snow falling outside, a cup of hot chocolate in hand, while enjoying the peace and quiet of a Christmas month. I know the second story says it can be read as a standalone, but I had to say that you get the best sense of Christmas warmth by reading both, one after the other. You have to read them together to really understand Carter and the growth he went through, adjusting from Tiny Tim's arrival in his life to having a cat called Legos. You have to read it to believe it.