Naughty or Nice

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Naughty or Nice (Ella Reynolds #2.75 (Dark Christmas))

After averaging out the stars my rating comes to 3.6 stars for the book. The stories in it are very diverse and all thankfully are about the holiday season.

‘The Santa Call’ by J.R. Rain is a bit of a weird one that I gave 3.5 stars because it is so different you can’t help but keep reading. Santa calls a radio show run by the Love Doctor who gives romantic advise. Santa calls because Mrs. Claus has left him and he needs someone to tell him how to get her back or Christmas will be ruined. I liked it but was not wowed by it.

‘Disco Angels’ by Danielle Younge-Ullman got a rating of 4 stars. Sarah is visiting her family for the holidays which means she has to put up with her less than sweet sister Meli. She loves being there but is still sad about the loss she had 2 years earlier, it has affected everything in her life. The story was good but very sad in so many ways with hopeful undertones for the season.

‘One Stormy Christmas’ by Toni LoTempio I gave 3 stars for being alright. This used characters from a book I had never read and so they were not important to me. Abraham Adams has bought a shop from his cousin and thinks that he will find something worth a lot of money. Abraham finds a box that seems to speak to him. The box somehow ends up on the shelves and is purchased by Autumn, a writer on the show “Stormy Seas”, who proceeds to let out a bit of evil into the world. It actually took me a minute to get into the story but it picked up nicely near the end.

‘Fortune Cat’s Visit’ by Heather Massey got 2 stars. This was my least favorite of all the stories in the book. It did not seem to be about anything more than a woman finding love during Chinese New Year. I did not care about the characters and therefore did not care about the story itself. They mention aliens but you never see them.

‘Real Elves’ by Helen Smith received 3 stars for being cute. Miranda is an artist who has created an enchanted forest for a department store. She just needs to have a dry run before they open it to children. Emily helps by asking her neighbor to bring his granddaughter to walk through and see how she feels about it, things do not go smoothly. This story was cute and had a feeling of magic. I actually liked the characters.

‘Carol’ by J.W. Becton gets 3 stars for a nice story. Calla Hawthorne was at a Christmas party when she was told to go pick up a revenant. It is her job to make sure that souls or the pieces of them get to where they are going, but nobody told her this was a murder victim, they are a little more trouble. The story was interesting and the characters were also interesting.

I gave ‘Krampus Klaus’ by Christiana Miller 4 stars because this story caught my imagination. Jessica and her kids find themselves in witness protection for the holidays and it is nothing like they have experienced before. Her husband is not a nice man and brought his mistress into witness protection and spends most of his time with her. The children make a find when they cannot sleep on Christmas Eve that makes their lives and their mothers better. I loved the ending to this it was just what I would have wanted.

This I gave 5 stars because I like a good mystery just like our heroine, ‘Dark Christmas’ by Liz Schulte. Ella is a recluse with good reason, her husband was murdered in their home and she was the prime suspect. Now however she lives with one of the detectives in the town and writes true crime novels, one about her own experiences and the town. There seems to be something more going on when a dead body is found on her front porch during a holiday party. I think this one was excellent and had me on the edge of my seat.

‘Santa Stole My Ghoulfriend’ by Rose Pressey gets 4 stars because I already liked the character. Larue Donavan sees ghosts and speaks with them because they seek her out for help. A ghost shows up and asks for help in bringing the Christmas spirit to a new arrival in town. Deanna Snow hates Christmas and does not decorate her shop like everyone else. This was a bit short and did not build like it could have but still gave me a smile.

This was a long tale and I gave ‘The Perfect Gift’ by Barbra Annino 4.5 stars. Dane Caulfield finds the perfect gift for his wife in an antique shop but believes he has left it at his place of business. On Christmas Eve the gift is found by his wife and he does not want her to open it because it could bring back bad memories. Julia starts to act strange after opening the gift and Dane begins to think she may not be the wife he needs. But more is happening than either of them are aware of. This was a mystery with a subtle paranormal element. Definitely worth reading.

Some of the stories are good some are bland but all have something interesting to tie it to Christmas.

I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

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I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow #2.7)

by Molly Harper (Author), Amanda Ronconi (Narrator)
I am always happy to take a trip to Half Moon Hollow and get a chance to visit with my favorite vampires. Amanda Ronconi does a fabulous job of bringing the denizens of this small southern city to life whether they be male or female. The story is always good and entertaining so that you can find something interesting even in such a short story as this. These are not all characters that I know very well because they are from another set of novels but Jane and friends are present since it is set in the same town.

Gigi Scanlon is coming home from college for the holidays for the first time since her older sister has been turned. Her sister Iris is afraid that she will not be able to control her blood-lust and so has as many vampires as possible on hand. Jane along with her husband Gabriel as well as Dick Cheney and Andrea are on hand for the festivities that Iris has planned to make her sisters Christmas as human friendly as possible.

But Gigi has a lot on her mind because she has been offered a job by the vampire council, she wants to break up with her safe boyfriend, and it seems she is being followed by a very handsome vampire. Any of these things could be a problem but having to tell her sister and over protective father figure is not something she wants to deal with. But the season has a way of making things go better.

As usual a fun read that had me laughing out loud at the antics of these characters. Make sure to hit the last chapter because you will find recipes for some sweet treats of the season. Highly recommend!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol

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A Vampire’s Christmas Carol

I am a major fan of the Charles Dickens story and read it and watch every film version I can find each Christmas. This was a perfect retelling with a vampire to rival Scrooge as a bad guy. This was a different type of vampire as well since they would not be considered technically dead, even though they are dead. This follows the original story very closely with the visitation by three guides, in this case a demon, an angel and a panther shifter. They appear for more or less the same reasons that Scrooge was visited by his spirits, in order to make him a better man and save him from himself.

Ben Prescott was an ordinary man until the Christmas Eve he was attacked and turned into what he considered a monster, he became a vampire, and he took the perception of evil to heart. His entire life was altered and he fell into a dark place because of the losses in his life and told himself that the things he did were justified. When he was about to make a mistake that could send him to the underworld for eternity ,Fate in the form of someone who cared, stepped in to give him a second chance at life by giving him a glimpse of what his future could hold if he does not change course.

There was a nice little twist to the story which may or may not be expected but I didn’t see that particular one coming. There is a Marley to start him on his journey, though not Jacob. This is a great addition to the holiday season for lovers of the paranormal.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
She flew back to the little town of Desolate. Headed into the town’s only bar. William and Jamison were already inside, waiting for her. William glanced up at her approach. His lips quirked. “A demon, a shifter, and an angel walk into a bar…” “And all hell breaks loose,” Jamison finished with a laugh.

Silver Bells

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Silver Bells

This was a sweet story with an interesting take on Santa and who and what his reindeer are. It was hard for me to get into the story which was not very short. The character were just dropped in without any real introduction as to who they were. It was hard to have any feeling for either of the characters even though you knew you should because this was going to be a sentimental tale. Once you get past the rather lackluster beginning the story moves a lot more quickly.

Dash Bartholomew lives and works on the south side of Howle, a less than desirable area. He keeps the carousel animals looking good for the summer season through the winter. He has a harness with silver bells attached that he can no longer hear. Merry is a homeless woman who ducks into the barn he works in to get out of the cold and wind. She is a proud woman who will not accept charity but is willing to work and help Dash with the animals. She can hear the bells and finds the sound sweet and comforting because she heard similar ones when she was a child. These two people have more in common than they know.

There were a lot of short cuts taken, I have no idea when they were supposed to have fallen in love because there was nothing to indicate it had happened. Like I said, a sweet story but not very filling.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars