Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Year in Review

# of books read: Somewhere around 100+. The exact number escapes me because I'm sure some of the books I've read fell through the cracks as I was loading up my lists each month on here.
Based on the monthly book count I ended with... Update: 203 books

# of reviews completed: 80.
Now as to whether the authors enjoyed them or readers found them useful that remains to be seen. What little feedback I have received points to yes-- authors like my reviews. Readers... well, the jury is still out.

# of books--
written: 0
started: 3
edited: 1(still needs more editing)
critiqued: 1

# of critique partners: 1 and she's amazing. Absolute gem that I don't know how I was living without. I know that sounds incredibly stalker-esque and a little creepy. Our respective spouses have claimed that we plan on running away together and we both agree it wouldn't be a bad idea. *smiles*
Now the shameless plug! You have to visit her blog . She has some awesome posts for crafting books, and writing advice in general.

# of blog posts: 94
A random mish-mash of experimentation occurred this year. Everything from guest spots from those with different writer professions, contests that didn't go very far, and reviews posted directly on the blog. I kept up toward the end with my Funday Monday posts, and blog joy Saturday made a small resurgence. Overall, I liked the variety of the blog and hope that I can continue to provide useful content.

Now to the new year 2012-- *drumroll*

I have writing goals. The first being to successfully plot a novel, and devote at least 1 hour per day to plotting until completion. Second, I will improve my grammar skills. I'm whipping out the official book I promise. Future goals will be established once I accomplish at least one of the first two. The second goal will be more difficult to measure lol!

In order to light a fire underneath my butt, the lovely Lori Sizemore and myself will be participating in a weekly roasting post on our blogs. Yes, you can expect me to brag about my writing dedication or wallow in self pity while Lori drags me through the dust. This lambasting will have some sort of sparkling name, though I imagine the posts will be brief. I'm open to naming suggestions. Maybe we should include photos to taunt one another.

Expect more reviews, though I imagine the quantity will diminish. I will continue to post my reading lists for everyone to keep track of. I have no idea what inspiration the lists give other than to show how insane I am for keeping up with nearly 20 books a month. And speaking of reviews expect a big, and I do mean BIG announcement on the 1st.

Reading List December 2011

Cap me off and call me Shirley, it's the end of 2011. I've really outdone myself this year, just a bit I think. I've consumed more books then I dare to imagine though I probably attempt a final count with my Year in Review post coming up tomorrow.

I thought I would get an early start though and post what books I've managed to devour in the last month.

1. King of the Isles by Debbie Mazzuca*
2. Sector C by Phoenix Sullivan
3. Forever and a Day by Delilah Marvelle **
4. Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacy**
5. The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James **
6. Proof of Love by Arabella Stokes **
7. Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
8. Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
9. Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James
10. The French Maid by Sabrina Jefferies
11. Once Upon a Winter's Eve: A Spindle Cove Novella by Tessa Dare
12. Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
13. This is What I Want by Megan Hart
14. Unraveled by Courtney Milan**
15. A Boyfriend Before Christmas by Caedem Marquez
16. All I Want for Christmas is You by Lisa Mondello
17. All I Want for Christmas by Liliana Hart
18. Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacy**
19. Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl
20. Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
21. Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

*Review available on The Season
**Review coming soon to the blog! (A lot of them coming soon)

Now, I will say that I kinda cheated this month. Several of the titles on the list are novellas and I'll admit to getting into the Christmas spirit as well. For the future, I'm not sure how many books I'll be reading in the new year. I'm not making a super plans as I have several writing goals I want to put into motion.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

Review: Hot Zone by Catherine Mann

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For backcover blurb and more information about this book and others in the series visit Catherine Mann's website.

A romantic suspense that grabs you from the second chapter…
Hugh Franco lives on the edge as a pararescueman, and worries more about saving the lives of others rather than forming connections. Hugh’s on the straight and narrow until his rescue mission puts him in contact with Amelia. Now he’s checking on her and her nephew in the hospital; concerned with emotions he hasn’t felt in a long time. When Amelia and her nephew are kidnapped, Hugh doesn’t think twice about jumping onto the back of van and doing his damnedest to save them. Even if embedding them into his life is cracking away the emotional blockade around his heart.

Amelia just wants to keep her nephew safe, at least until she can find his mother and father. The survival instinct is raging, and she can’t stop dwelling on her attraction to Hugh. He’s gone out of his way to help her, in more ways then she can count. As the danger increases and she’s forced into closer quarters with Hugh, Amelia has to decide if her feelings are just spurned by the circumstances or if her heart truly falling for this superman.

The second book in Mann’s Elite Force series is definitely not one to judge by the first pages. At first I didn’t believe I would get into the story. The idea of a romance unfolding at the scene of an earthquake seemed a little far-fetched for me. The setting and background were heart breaking, and emotional; nothing escapist about it. Mann has a penchant for grabbing you with emotion—feelings cold, warm, raw and afflicted. The characters were deep and quickly entangled my thoughts until I had to know if Hugh and Amelia were going to overcome the ridiculous odds. When I say ridiculous, I mean just that because everywhere this pair turned there was trouble—earthquake shakes, gun wielding fanatics, you name it. Regardless of the tension and conflicts Mann does a miraculous job of balancing internal issues with external, giving readers a chance to get lost in the minds of two people focused on survival, while dealing with a ton of emotional baggage from their past.

There is one subplot I could have done without, which involves Hugh’s superior, Liam McCabe. The addition of this added a little too much head jumping. I would have enjoyed just a Hugh and Amelia story versus getting involved in the early directions of McCabe’s story that is coming up in the next book. For me this killed or numbed my emotions, and slowed the story down. I was more enthralled with the direct romance between Hugh and Amelia.

Overall, Mann is excellent at keeping the suspense rolling, and once you get into the story you can’t help but wonder if someone is going to end up severely hurt or worse. A good read if you’re looking for something to start on in the suspense arena.

*As reviewed for The Season, can be seen in the upcoming Jan. issue.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Are you taking care of your best marketing tool?

You're living in the digital age where 13 year-olds have smart phones, and not a day goes by that doesn't involve millions of people searching for the most random things in the world. Visibility is at an all time high! Let's be honest, it's hard to be visible in the land of a billion, advice and image stuffed blogs/websites. Everyone wants to be recognized, seen, heard, and interacted with. Ultimately this means your personal site is the single most important/best marketing tool you have.

Facebook and Twitter have their own merits, but I'm not talking about them. Because not everyone is involved in the social media whirlwind. If they're like me, then they're probably trying to avoid Twitter and Facebook like the plague. That is until someone ultimately sucks them into the vortex of 140 characters posts, and onlinine games that pose as innocent apps-- damn you Farmville!

Back to the point: Your Website! Are you taking care of it? Applying the miracle grow? Doing some fall or spring cleanup? Because if you're not then you're losing my business and my time-- if you think that doesn't sound bad then remember if you're losing me there's more where I came from.

Call it a rant if you will, but I get annoyed when I'm hitting up an author's website and the coming soon features a book released 6 months prior. The site design is a mish-mash of images and red text on black background. Add the inability to see what's coming next, or not being able to access your backlist easily. Guess what? My business has just gone elsewhere.

You're going to say what I would say, "I'm super busy. Day job, family obligations, personal issues, deadlines!" The consumer only says one thing, "Then obviously my money is not important to you." For me the excuses just mean less traffic, for you these excuses could mean dinner is not going to be chicken breast but a slopping heap of sodium-loaded, artery clogging, blubber inducing ramen. Note: Nothing wrong with a little ramen every now and then, but truth be told it's horrible for you.

How do you solve this problem? Re-vamp, and re-think (if these are not words then they should be)
Re-vamp: Is your site user friendly? Sure it may be butterfly, fairy tweaking pretty. I love a nice background, and some cool javascript art, but ultimately I want to research your product. I want to know about you. Are you someone I want to give my money to once... multiple times? I need access to your accomplishments, books, and knowledge. I also need to know you care. And the ultimate thing to remember is K.I.S.S- Keep. It. Simple. Suckers.
Organize in a friendly fashion. Don't make your potential customers hunt for info or have to jump through hoops to figure out how to contact you. There's a fine line between too much and too little. And unfortunately you're job to figure out the balance.

Re-think: Is your bio up to date? Blog schedule still the same? Are the blurbs the best you got? It's always good to evaluate your content, and make sure that it's free of typos, grammar issues, etc. I've created 3 websites so far for various ventures. I will say that it doesn't matter how many times you drag the pages with a fine-tooth comb, even an expensive one, you'll find errors. Even better you'll find places where you could have said things better...and take it from the not-yet-landed-an-agent person, you can always word things better.

Bottom Line (because you know I always have one): Websites are your online face, and a toothless smile isn't going to bring in the dough. This is the hub that drives your business. If it's not current, easy to navigate, easy on the eyes, or missing the important stuff, you can bet that me and half a dozen other jabberwocky's are leaving after a few clicks. Those clicks need to transform into a purchase. The better the website, the more likely you'll see some significant ROI (return on investment).

**Note: I'm not an expert, just a person with some experience and over a million hours logged into website searching; including plunder and despair!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: Pride and Passion by Charlotte Featherstone

Review: Pride and Passion by Charlotte Featherstone

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For back cover blurb, excerpt, and more info visit Charlotte Featherstone's website here.

The Brethren are on the hunt for a killer…

Adrian York, Duke of Sussex, is searching for the Brethren enemy Orpheus. His only lead is a handkerchief with the initials of Lucy Stonebrook. The unfortunate thing is that Adrian loves Lucy, desires to marry her, but upon presenting the evidence Lucy claims the article belongs to a previous lover. Adrian doesn’t know what this lover meant to Lucy, but he’s bound and determined to catch the man and ensnare Lucy’s heart and soul one way or another.

Lucy sees the Duke of Sussex as her enemy. The lover she believed to be dead is back, and Lucy feels he’s incapable of committing the murder that Adrian accuses him of. She refuses to marry Adrian based on that fact, and the belief that he is a stuck up prig filled with no passion. Yet passion simmers underneath the surface of Adrian’s control, and Lucy finds out quickly that small missteps only bring it forth. Can Lucy and Adrian overcome the issues of their present or is pride unable to be overcome by passion?

This is Featherstone’s second book in the Brethren Guardian series. It’s a delicious read chock full of mystery, intrigue, and a compelling hero that captivates from the start. I love duke stories. I love seemingly arrogant windbags who turn out to be more than what they seem. Featherstone delivers a duke that fits all those desperate desires of my heart in Adrian York. He’s a man that believes in keeping passion tethered, afraid that if it gets lose then he’s not worthy in the role of a duke. Unfortunately, Lucy sets him afire, dashing his labored attempts to keep his desires under control. Like in this one scene where Adrian has just ended Lucy’s hopes of meeting her previous lover:

“Does your father know what you’re about tonight?”
“Oh, certainly,” she replied mockingly. “I shook him awake and informed him I was going traipsing through Mayfair in the dead of night to meet with the man who took my innocence.”
It was as though an electric bolt lanced through him.
With a savage oath, he picked through the bag until he came across a folded piece of paper. Her eyes widened, but their expression taunted him, dared him to unfold this bit of private correspondence, which did nothing to ease his riled, and feral—not to mention sexually frustrated—mood.
“So this is the damning evidence, is it?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“We’ll see soon enough, won’t we?”
Opening it, he read the contents, and saw red as every vessel in his head began to bleed, leeching blood from his brain, to his eyes, until his vision was swimming in crimson.
“What the devil do you mean by obeying this summons? Alone? In the dark? My God, when I think of what might have happened to you. You’re reckless… a danger to yourself,” he huffed quickly losing his control. “You ought to be tied up for your own good and safety and given to a man who will make it his life’s purpose to keep you out of mischief.”
He reached for the cravat that lay pooled on the table.
“What do you mean by this?” she snapped as he began to bind her hands.
“What does it look like?”
“Untie me at once. Oooh,” she stammered as she stamped her foot against the floor, trying to connect with his foot. The foot wouldn’t hurt half as much as his groin still did. “You cannot do this!”
“I assure you, my love, I can. And I am doing a fine job of it.”

Lucy’s character is a moderately likable, and seems to be filled with enough pride to cover the Eastern seaboard. She’s quick to judge and barely peeks beneath the surface of a person. Lucy is reminiscent of a person so absorbed with their desires and losses that they can’t be brought out of their internal dreams easily. In fact, it took half the book and a shocking revelation to get Lucy to see beyond herself. This made it a tad difficult to find something to like about Lucy, but eventually her pride abated. Once she climbed out of her self-absorbed shell it was easy to see how Adrian could love her.

Overall, the book is a delicious read for those in want of a strong, passion driven hero. I couldn’t put it down, even though Lucy is not the most ideal heroine. One other note, don’t expect full resolutions in this story, as Featherstone seeks to entice rather than satisfy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: A Clockwork Christmas

Review: A Clockwork Christmas by Stacy Gail, PJ Forte, Jenny Schwartz, J.K. Coi

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit Stacy Gail's Blog here. She has additional posts featuring her anthology sisters from A Clockwork Christmas. This anthology is published by Carina Press and released Monday December 5th, 2011. Get it now!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nothing says Christmas like clocks, mechanical limbs, tortured souls, and some steamy windows!

Form the ingenious minds of four exciting authors, comes an anthology that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the morn'. These steampunk tales based around the Christmas holiday take readers on a journey across the globe; from the Victorian streets of New England to the shores of Australia, and a couple of other exciting hot spots in between. Fall in love through bitter separations, heart wrenching recoveries, and even a robbery that involves stealing not just an item, but a heart!

Crime Wave in a Corset

Cornelia Peabody thought she was going to steal her way to peace and tranquility, until previous victim, Roderick Coddington, slaps a deadly timepiece on her wrist. With 7 days ‘til to live Cornelia has no choice but to steal back the priceless piece Coddington wants. What neither of them expects is the desirous emotions conjured by their odd partnership or the feelings evoked by the Christmas season.

This Winter Heart

Ophelia is the last person in the world her husband, Dario, wants to see. She’s desperate for funds, and assistance, since her father has passed on and her family has abandoned her. Yet Dario is unwilling to take her back, even with Ophelia’s astounding revelation. Can Dario accept Ophelia for who she is, even if she’s not the typical definition of human?

Wanted: One Scoundrel

Esme Smith, suffragette extraordinaire, is on the hunt for a male to represent her political party ideals. Jed Reeve is captivated by Esme’s strength and desires. He’s not a political activist, but when presented with Esme’s unique opportunity he can’t resist accepting. In the midst of trying to do the job he was hired for, Jed finds himself embroiled in a nefarious scheme, with everything from blackmail to kidnapping. Can he prove he’s more than just a scoundrel and win the girl too?

Far From Broken

Jasper Carlisle was willing to deal with the devil if he could save his wife, appealing to his devious superior was literally the same thing. Callie was saved, but at the cost of having her limbs and body invaded by mechanical limbs and nano technology. She doesn’t believe she’ll ever be whole again and has a hard time forgiving Jasper for forcing her to live rather than die after the deadly attack. In the midst of their reunion a killer waits. Someone who knows what happened to Callie on that unfortunate night, and who’s willing to do anything to destroy them both.

Honestly this is the first anthology where all the stories have equally impressed me. All four stories are unique and compelling in their own right. Each author does an amazing job of evoking emotion and creating characters that are relatable. The Christmas theme is present and endearing, making each tale even more romantic. Another fabulous detail about this anthology is that the stories are based in different locales across the world, proving that the spirit of Christmas can be found everywhere; not just in one country or nation.

My favorite story was Gail’s Crime Wave in a Corset. Peabody and Coddington are a fabulous pair, from their interactions to their potential romance. The story is fast paced and a page turner; one you can’t put down. At the same Forte, and Coi did a phenomenal job of creating a steampunk environment, by allowing characters from their stories to embody the essence of steampunk physically. I found the scientific aspects in both of their stories to be extremely interesting and captivating.

Overall, this anthology gives new perspectives, and adds to the fascinating world of the steampunk genre. I look forward to reading more from each of these authors in the future. If you’re on the hunt for something new in the world of Christmas tales A Clockwork Christmas should be on your purchase list.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: A Midsummer Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels

Review: A Midsummer Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels

For back cover blurb and other information about this book visit Kasey Michaels website.

Rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Puck—ever the trickster in clothes and out of them…
In the second installment of Michaels Blackthorn series readers get the pleasure of being introduced to the youngest Blackthorn, Robin Goodfellow or Puck. Puck is the carefree, mischievous brother. Yet where his other brothers have failed, Puck succeeds. The majority of polite society accepts him, even though he’s a bastard, and he merely buys or connives his way to win over any who oppose. When Lady Regina Hackett crosses his path at a masquerade, Puck believes he’s stumbled upon the woman of his dreams, except it will take far more than a simple assignation to win her heart.

Regina Hackett merely wanted an adventure when she agreed to attend the masked ball with her cousin, but she never expected to be tempted to sin in a garden, nor that her cousin would be abducted while she allowed herself to be ravished with kisses. With her mercenary merchant father wanting to sell her off to the highest bidder, and sweep her cousins abduction under the rug, Regina must seek the help of the devilishly attractive, devious Puck. The problem is can she keep her heart from falling for this bastard or will she become his final conquest?

If I had to choose between the heroine and hero, I truly enjoyed Puck the best. What I liked even more was the conflict and the stakes. Michael’s truly stepped it up in this novel. The villains were downright diabolical and I loved how Puck and Regina thwart them together. The dialogue is snappy, and brilliant. With the main characters deftly anticipating and outmaneuvering everyone in their path, including each other, from the moment they meet at the masked ball:
“ What is your name, scarlet lady?” he asked her, looking into her wide, unblinking eyes, feeling himself becoming lost in those clear, swirling depths.
“I’d first know yours. Is it Mister Black or Mister Gold?” she said, showing spirit yet again.
Puck laughed. “It’s neither. My name is Robin Good-fellow.”
The truth was rarely believed, and it wasn’t now.
“Oh yes, I’m quite sure that’s correct. And I am Titania, Queen of the Fairies.”
“Ah, fair Titania,” Puck allowed, quietly surprised that she would know the characters from Shakespeare’s farce until he realized that she must be an actress. He was about to break his most sacred rule and tumble an actress. “Then you do not believe me?”
“No more than you believe me, no. But does it matter? I don’t imagine you’ve brought me out here for an exchange of names.”
“And why have I brought you out here?” he asked, even as he lifted the silken hood back and off her head, revealing a mass of artfully placed curls nearly black in the dim light.
“I’m not entirely certain. I was rather thinking it was to kiss me.”
“To kiss you,” Puck repeated, taken aback. She said the words as if they were dangerous in the extreme. “And you came here to be kissed?” *
How far the kiss goes is a question that can only be answered by buying this wonderful story now. Honestly the first book in this series did not captivate me as much as this one. There's no issue of getting into this story, and even though some of the situations are a little off the beaten path from other historicals, Puck’s antics and attitudes make everything buyable. Regina is his perfect fit in more ways than one, and I found myself draw to her spunk and loyalty.

Definitely for those who enjoy a good historical with a mystery involved this is one to get immediately. For those who read Jacquie D’Alessandro or Stephanie Laurens.
Originally reviewed for The Season.
*excerpt may be altered in final copy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Funday Monday- December 6th, 2011

Greetings everyone! It's Monday, and since it's almost Christmas (19 days and counting) here's a little video of some lights and one of my favorite songs!

Now for other exciting things to do on this Monday. Let's start with a couple of blog contests.

5. The 12 days of Bookmas! The lovely ladies at BookEnds, LLC are hosting their 2nd annual 12 days of Bookmas contest on their blog. Each weekday (business day) there will be a clue posted at noon. Subsequent clues are available on their clients blogs which they have provided a list to here. The first one to guess the book correctly wins a prize. Check it out, but remember you have to be quick!

4. The 12 (Historical) Days of Christmas! Another 12- themed contest is being hosted by Rita at Not Another Romance Blog and Danielle at Ramblings from this Chick blog. This contest is honestly about posting comments and reading some very inventive stories as 24 authors pair up together and provide fun tales based on 12 different themes. For more details check out Rita's post.

3. Continuing on this 12 days theme we have an awesome free read that you can find on The Season. The 12 days of Christmas anthology is a collaboration of 12 authors (who would've guessed) each with a story based on 1 of the 12 days of Christmas. Originally released in 2008, it's still a fun holiday read. Get it here. Featured authors include: Jackie Barbosa, Kay Gregory, Kate Austin, and Sherryl Hoyt. 

2. Got a Geek Story? Well, Entangled publishing is holding open submissions for Romance+Geek= Happily Ever After. Dust off the typewriter, and grab you a 24-pack of Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew and a little spiked eggnog. Deadline for submission is Jan. 15th, 2012. So, there's time to take a couple of days off for a little Christmas feast. More details can be found here.

1. Finally let's talk flash mobs. I knew they existed but never spent enough time researching them on YouTube. Let's just say today is a good time to check it out. There are tons of videos- some good, some bad- available and you can't help but marvel at the power of music. People from all walks getting involved to dance, sing, or both. If you're a music lover like me then some of these videos may just give you a little feel good this Monday.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reading List for November 2011

So, no slow down. Let me be the first to say that I didn't plan on reading much this month. Then on Black Friday I went to the bookstore... my mistake! Not really a mistake, and I did get a compliment from the lovely cashier that I was their number 1 customer of the day. That's right I'm a big spender. Unfortunately, if you follow this blog then you know once I get going I typically can't stop. Add in a couple of contest wins, and more reviews to write and you get 18 books or so read in a month.

1. Spells & Stiches by Barbara Bretton*
2. Hell to Pay by Wendy Corsi Staub (DNF)
3. Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione*
4. Lessons in Seduction by Sandra Hyatt *
5. The Man Every Woman Wants by Miranda Lee *
6. The Savage Heart by Diana Palmer*
7. My Ruthless Prince by Gaelen Foley**
8. Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland*
9. King of the Isles by Debbie Mazzuca
10. Jacob Marley by R. William Bennet**
11. A Clockwork Heart by Stacy Gail, PG Forte, Jenny Schwartz, J.K. Koi**
12. Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel**
13. Visions of Sugar Plums by Jennifer Blake**
14. Naughty Can Be Nice by Cynthia Selwyn**
15. Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis**
16. Waking Up With The Duke by Lorraine Heath
17. Because You're Mine by Lisa Kleypas
18. A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

*Review will be available on The Season E-Zine.
**Review will be available on this blog.

I have no idea what December will hold, and 4 days in I've already ate up 4 books. I've got a big TBR pile, and I'm sure more will get added. Definitely look for a lot of reviews popping up over the next 30 days. With a big announcement coming right before Christmas!

Review: Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett

Review: Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett

For back cover blurb and more information about this book visit R. William Bennett's website.

Rated: 3 out of 5 stars

A Christmas Carol through a new set of eyes…

Just about everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol and the tale of redemption that changes the miser Scrooge into a giving man. Yet how often do you wonder about the man behind the miser, Jacob T. Marley? Do you wish to know if this man helped turn Scrooge into a stone-hearted person? What mistakes did Marley make to carry the chains that he did?

Bennett weaves a tale about the history of Scrooge’s partner, and carries readers on a journey through the life of Marley; even beyond his death. The story is filled with the memorable characters from the original Dickens tale, with a few new twists and turns. To be completely honest, this reader didn’t know what to expect, and hoped for a story told wholly in the life before Marley’s death that would help justify the Scrooge readers are introduced to in A Christmas Carol.

Surprisingly, the book took an unexpected route and not only told of Marley’s past, but his present and future. Intimate details of Marley’s life are shared, and told in a classical way that inspires and reminds readers of the Dickens style. Bennett does a decent job of blending the original story with his alternate universe, in which, we see events unfold via a narrator and through Marley’s eyes.

The author also provided a wonderful sense of setting and period; with multiple details that were pleasing and acted as a transport into his world. Additionally, this reader was pleased at the end of the tale as there were no wondering questions, and the story was told to completion.

The majority of disappointment in this book came from what felt to be a sagging middle. The development of the beginning of the story, and the wonderful ending made the middle lack. This reader wanted to know more details behind some of Marley’s journey, and felt bereft at not being able to share in more of his trials. This reader felt an additional fifty pages or so would not have hurt the story, but added more enticement and depth. The book is about redemption and suffering, let the reader live it!

Overall, the story was satisfactory, and makes a nice read for those wanting to get into the Christmas spirit or if you’re looking for something different than traditional holiday stories.