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