Title: Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t be Wrapped
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 25, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Christmas
Page Count: 131 pages
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Ned Balding used to be a decent man—until the stress of seemingly countless responsibilities changes him, and he becomes cold and driven—the kind of man who considers firing an employee days before Christmas. The kind of man who kicks a dog…. But Ned’s transgressions haven’t gone unseen. A Salvation Army Santa witnesses his misdeeds and decides Ned needs to be taught a lesson.
When Ned wakes up the next morning, he’s stunned to discover he’s been transformed into a dog.
In the past year, Jake Carrara has lost his mother, a lover… even his dog. His boss came close to firing him just before the holidays. He isn’t sure he’s ready for another pet when he’s asked to foster a dog, but Jake’s good heart won’t let him refuse. Little does he know, this isn’t just any dog.
Through a twist of fate, two people with little reason to be friends might teach each other to rediscover the good—and the love—in life.
O.M.Gosh! This was a fabulous Christmas story and probably the high point of my Holiday reading. I’m still feeling warm fuzzies about this book and I’m trying really hard not to babble and gush.
This is a “Scrooge” story: Ned is a royal asshat. His Husband, whom he didn’t want to actually marry because a Civil Union was plenty good, has walked out and served divorce papers. Ned takes to task a employee – Jake – for missing too many days of work when he finds out Jake’s dog died. For Ned, this is the final straw – how can anyone need days off for a mere flea-bitten, shedding, filthy dog.
Riiiggght. You can see where this is going. When on the way to pick up a pizza in a snowstorm, a Salvation Army Santa witnesses Ned kicking a dog and takes him to task for it. There’s something off and creepy about this Santa, but Ned chalks it up to the weather.
Until he wakes up as a dog.
And ends up in Jake’s care.
For a novella, this story packed a punch. Ned is forced to re-evaluate his life, his outlook, his attitudes, his relationships, his…everything. A Voice occasionally points out the obvious, not letting Ned for one minute try and delude himself into complacency. And all of this is done while Ned is a dog, unable to communicate anymore than a dog can.
This story is simply brilliant. I found this to be so emotionally engaging that I read it in one setting. I was angry at douche-bag Ned, I laughed at Ned’s reaction waking up as a canine, I CRIED in the middle of the story, for Pete’s sake! And as the book progressed, somewhere I found myself rooting for Ned to understand where he went astray from the things that were important to him.
And the ending? Well, you’ll have to read this and find out just how awesome it really is on your own. Don’t let this little gem slip by!
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