Monthly Archives: December 2020

A Princess By Christmas (A Royal Wedding #3) by Julia London Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young widow seeks to turn her late husband’s gossip and fashion rumor gazette into a serious source of journalism, and in doing so finds her first real story as a hidden and lost Prince seeks to root out corruption within his home in author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas”, the third in the “A Royal Wedding” series. 

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The Synopsis

She’s discovered his secret.

Now the trouble really begins…

After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton‘s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.

Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.

The Review

A fantastic blend of Victorian-era scenery and social interactions amongst the characters blended with a holiday style romance narrative and political intrigue, this latest entry into the Royal Wedding series definitely is an attention-grabbing and entertaining read. The author beautifully brings to life the budding romance and emotion that all classic Victorian Romances hold, while also crafting a memorable reading experience.

The protagonists and the characters overall really helped bring this story to life, especially the historical setting and the Kingdoms involved in the narrative. The loss and loneliness that Hollis deals with when combined with her determination and passion despite the negative reactions others have to her writing make her a well-rounded character, while Marek’s passion to root out injustice while maintaining his life on his farm is a welcome journey for a young royal to take, making this a truly engaging plot and equally engaging characters to follow.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, emotional, stylistic, and lengthy read, author Julia London’s “A Princess by Christmas” is a must-read romance this holiday season. The story is breathtakingly beautiful and does a great job of drawing in readers with memorable characters and an inviting era of history, making this a must-read holiday romance. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit http://www.julialondon.com. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/julialondon

https://www.instagram.com/julia_f_london/

The Last Christmas Cowboy (Gold Valley #11) by Maisey Yates Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A cowboy still dealing with the loss of his family finds himself drawn into an unexpected mission of romance for his best friend’s sister and discovers instead a chemistry and passion he never before imagined in author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Christmas Cowboy”, the eleventh novel in the “Gold Valley” series.

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The Synopsis

Will this brooding Gold Valley cowboy find redemption this Christmas?

This Christmas, cowgirl Rose Daniels is determined to play matchmaker to ensure her beloved sister will meet someone under the mistletoe. She enlists the reluctant help of family friend Logan Heath, but his insistence that she doesn’t understand chemistry is exasperating. Until they share one electrifying moment that shows her exactly what chemistry is all about, and it becomes outrageously, irresistibly intriguing…

Logan hates the holidays. They are a painful reminder of the family he lost and a time of year he always wants to spend on his own. But Rose refuses to let him. Logan’s worked for years to keep his attraction to her under wraps—she’s his best friend’s youngest sister and she couldn’t be more off-limits. He’s the last cowboy that innocent Rose should ever kiss, but this Christmas, will Logan become the only cowboy she’ll ever want?

The Review

While the notion of reading the eleventh book in a long-running romance series can feel daunting, the author does an amazing job of crafting a narrative that feels both recognizable to longtime readers and wholly new and original to newcomers, creating a story that can work as a standalone novel. 

The chemistry and tension between Rose and Logan is definitely heated, and fans of more adult romance won’t be able to get enough of this story. The story does a great job of incorporating both graphic and intimate scenes between the characters and deep, emotionally-driven narratives that delve into the lives of the characters themselves, creating a perfect balance that fans of the romance genre won’t be able to get enough of. 

The Verdict

A lengthy, engaging, and intimate modern-day cowboy romance, author Maisey Yates’s “The Last Cowboy Christmas” is a must-read this holiday season! The history these characters share with one another and the approachability for readers both new to the series and well established will both be able to enjoy, this is a heat-inducing and romantic novel that readers can’t help but enjoy, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.

She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

https://www.instagram.com/maiseyyates/

https://www.facebook.com/MaiseyYates.Author/

Happily This Christmas (Happily Inc. #6) By Susan Mallery Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A strong, independent woman and single mother finds herself trying to help bring together the man she is attracted to and his pregnant daughter in an effort to thaw the daughter’s heart and bring their family closer together in author Susan Mallery’s “Happily This Christmas”, the sixth book in the “Happily Inc” series!

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The Synopsis

Treat yourself this Christmas by staying in with this holiday read!

Susan Mallery, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances, proves there’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

There’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

Wynn Beauchene has a thriving business, a great kid and a mildly embarrassing crush on the guy next door—local cop Garrick McCabe. She’s a strong, independent woman who can’t help dreaming what-if about a man she barely knows. Until he needs her help…

Garrick’s pregnant daughter will be home for Christmas, and his house needs a woman’s touch. Garrick and his little girl were tight once and he’s hoping a small-town Christmas will bring her back to him. But thawing his daughter’s frosty attitude will take more than a few twinkle lights. Maybe sharing the holiday with Wynn and her son will remind her of the joy of family.

As the season works its magic on these wounded souls, Wynn realizes it’s time to stop punishing herself for a painful secret, while Garrick remains haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes. Will he allow Wynn to open the only gift she truly wants—his heart?

Don’t miss Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, The Vineyard at Painted Moon, and join one woman as she searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.

Read more in the reader-favorite Happily Inc series:

Book 1: You Say It First

Book 2: Second Chance Girl

Book 3: Why Not Tonight

Book 4: Not Quite Over You

Book 5: Meant to Be Yours

Book 6: Happily This Christmas

The Review

This was such a passionate read. Author Susan Mallery does a great job of interweaving the characters of previous entries into the series into a wholly original novel, while also crafting two great protagonists that feel real and vulnerable yet incredibly strong. Their pasts are thoroughly explored in the actions of the modern-day storyline, and highlight their individual struggles as well as the impact it has on their own shared experiences, making for two incredibly flawed yet well-rounded characters readers can get behind.

The twists and turns that each character’s past takes are truly engaging and highlight the scars both physically and emotionally each has. The setting itself feels alive and vibrant, and the author’s previous novels when combined with this one make the feeling of a true community setting feel even more real and relatable all at once. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, romantic, and a dramatic holiday must-read, author Susan Mallery’s “Happily This Christmas” is a brilliant novel and great entry into the “Happily Inc” series. With well-rounded characters and a vivid sense of imagery that brings this town and it’s inhabitants to live, this is the author at her best and is not to be missed this holiday season. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Critics have dubbed Mallery “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!” It’s no wonder that her books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list.

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

https://www.facebook.com/SusanMallery

https://www.instagram.com/susanmallery/

A California Christmas (Silver Springs #7) by Brenda Novak Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman in hiding after a public humiliation finds solace with the family of a former high school friend, who grows closer with her over the holidays in author Brenda Novak’s holiday romance, “A California Christmas”, the seventh in the author’s “Silver Springs” series.

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The Synopsis

Up-and-coming TV anchor Emery Bliss can’t imagine anything more humiliating than the sex tape her ex revenge-posted online. That is, until it causes her to lose her job on top of her self-esteem. Seeking solace—and anonymity—in Silver Springs, Emery isn’t looking to get involved with another man anytime soon. But when she’s thrown back into contact with Dallas Turner, she sees something that his many detractors have missed.

Being home for the holidays and his adoptive mother’s wedding isn’t where mountain climber Dallas feels most comfortable. Thanks to his troubled childhood, he’d rather be on a rock face alone than trying to connect with people. Emery, however, makes him want to overcome his past…somehow.

Both Emery and Dallas had been planning on a quiet, solitary Christmas, but the sparks between them are lighting a fire strong enough to last—possibly forever. 

The Review

A fantastic holiday-themed romance that can be read all-year-round! Author Brenda Novak writes a brilliant tale that explores themes of sexism in both a professional and social setting, unexpected friendships turned romances, and using the roadblocks and hardships we face to find a better, more true path for ourselves than we ever thought possible.

Character growth is the key to this novel’s allure, as the protagonist’s Emery and Dallas are both relatable and do a wonderful job of showcasing their individual personalities as well as the bond they form together. As a Southern California guy myself, I could relate to the overall setting of the story, while longtime readers of the author will appreciate the established series setting that keeps the story both fresh and familiar all at once. 

The Verdict

An intriguing, well-written, and evenly-paced romance novel, author Brenda Novak’s “A California Christmas” is a must-read novel this holiday season and beyond. Filled with tension, passion, and hopeful storytelling, this is the romance-inducing story that everyone will enjoy as we close out 2020. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she continues to publish two or three novels a year, in a variety of genres.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. Now that they are empty-nesters, she spends her free time babysitting her two grandchildren.

When she’s not with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising money for diabetes research. To date, she’s raised almost $2.6 million. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking–she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

https://www.instagram.com/authorbrendanovak/

Quinn’s Christmas Wish by Lawna Mackie Audiobook Tour

Author: Lawna Mackie

Narrator: Carolyn Jania

Length: 3 hour 30 minutes

Series: Bandit Creek, Book 7

Publisher: Lawna Mackie

Released: January 2021

Genre: Paranormal Christmas Romance

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Tiny Ruins by Nicole Haldoupis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman struggles to understand her growing feelings and her identity as a bisexual woman in author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins”. 

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The Synopsis

“The dahlias on Sara’s dress scrunched and stretched with her body as she spun on the grass and Alana couldn’t understand why no one else was mesmerized.” Tiny Ruins is a coming-of-age and coming out story that follows Alana, as she grows up, discovers, and tries to understand her bisexuality. Small windows offer us a glimpse of Alana’s memories, often fragmentary, fleeting, and touching. When she confides in her sister that she is attracted to girls, she is met with disbelief, and so the secret is kept and Alana continues as the outsider looking in.

The Review

This is a beautiful and emotional novella. The author has crafted quite an incredible and unique tale that comes in the form of snapshots of memories and events in the protagonist’s life. From the ups and downs of childhood to the hardships and struggles those in their teens coming to terms with who they are and the peer pressure to hide from everyone around them and so much more, this novella perfectly captures the growing up experience. 

The snapshot storytelling component really works here. Each page has sections that look like direct dives into the protagonist’s memories, speaking on random events and experiences that somehow come together to tell a cohesive character-driven narrative that captures so many different emotional beats. 

The Verdict

A short yet powerful and emotional read, author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins” is a must-read novella. The story that evolves throughout the protagonist’s life is memorable and relatable, especially to anyone in the LGBTQ community who has ever had to deal with conflicting feelings and the journey of understanding who they are. From accepting her own sexuality to a conflict-filled relationship with her sister and the long journey into adulthood, this is a fantastic read that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nicole Haldoupis is a queer writer, editor, and designer from Toronto. She’s the outgoing Editor of Grain and a co-creator of untethered and Applebeard Editions. Her work can be found in Bad Dog Review, The Feathertale Review, Bad Nudes, and others. Her first book, Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020), is a novel made up of linked flash fiction pieces. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @nicolehaldoupis.

http://nicolehaldoupis.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/nicolehaldoupis/?hl=en

The Hunt of the Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman finds her world turned upside down as the family story she dismissed as a fantasy becomes her new reality in author C.C. Humphreys’ “The Hunt of the Unicorn”. 

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The Synopsis

Elayne thinks the old family story that one of her ancestors stepped through a tapestry into a world of mythical beasts makes a great fireside tale. But she lives in the real world. In New York City. And she’s outgrown that kind of fantasy.

Until she finds herself in front of a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters museum and sees her initials woven into the fabric. And hears a unicorn calling to her. And slips and falls—into that other world.

Suddenly the line between fantasy and reality isn’t so clear. But the danger is real enough. Almost before she can think, Elayne is attacked by a ferocious beast, rescued by a unicorn, and taken prisoner by a tyrant king. Each of them seems to have an idea about her—that she’s a hero, a villain, dinner!

But Elayne has a few ideas of her own. She wants to overthrow the king; she wants to tame the unicorn. She wants to go home! And she’s willing to become both hero and villain to do it.

The Review

A rich and storied mythology comes to life in author C.C. Humphreys’s latest novel. The author does a great job of creating a healthy blend of new fantasy-driven mythology with a rich cast of characters and mythical beasts that give both a magical and human element of danger and adventure to the narrative. 

The author does an amazing job of crafting not only a wholly original story, but does a wonderful job of creating memorable characters. Protagonist Alice is a fantastic character to follow, as her story is complex and intricately tied into this magical world known as Goloth. Her journey takes her down roads that could either save a world, destroy it, or possibly both. 

The emotional core of her father’s illness with cancer and her reading the story of their family legacy to him to start the story was an inspired way of bringing this mythology into the story early on, and the concept of parallel worlds bringing our reality into the world of Goloth was a great way of pairing that emotional storyline to the adventure she experiences later on.

The Verdict

An action-packed, wildly creative and evenly-paced read, author C.C. Humphreys’s “The Hunt of the Unicorn” was a fantastic start to a new fantasy-driven series. The protagonist was someone readers could identify with and rally behind, while the large mythos the author built was engaging and entertaining to dive into. A must-read for fantasy fans out there, be sure to grab your copy of this awesome novel today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto, lived till he was seven in Los Angeles, then grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors, and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline.

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys has played Hamlet in Calgary, a gladiator in Tunisia, waltzed in London’s West End, conned the landlord of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street, commanded a starfleet in Andromeda, voiced Salem the cat in the original Sabrina, and is a dead immortal in Highlander. He has written eleven adult novels including The French Executioner, runner-up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; Chasing the Wind; The Jack Absolute Trilogy; Vlad – The Last Confession; A Place Called Armageddon and Shakespeare’s Rebel – which he adapted into a play and which premiered at Bard on the Beach, Vancouver, in 2015. Plague won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in Canada in 2015. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He is now writing epic fantasy with the Immortals’ Blood Trilogy, for Gollancz. The first book, Smoke in the Glass was published in 2019 and The Coming of the Dark is, well, coming, Summer 2020. He is also publishing his other new fantasy series, The Tapestry Trilogy, beginning in August 2020 with ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’.

Several of his novels are available as Audiobooks – read by himself! Find him here:

https://www.authorchrishumphreys.com/…

He is translated into thirteen languages. In 2015 he earned his Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from the University of British Columbia.

Chris now lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with Dickon the cat (who keeps making it into his books!)

Check out his website: http://authorchrishumphreys.com

The Child Wore Pearls by Morgan Matthews Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman contemplating life beyond her father’s jewelry store and struggling with self-confidence issues and a strained relationship with her mother finds not only a new friendship in an older woman, but a trail of secrets that could upend her whole life in author Morgan Matthews’ thriller, “The Child Wore Pearls”.

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The Synopsis

June Randolph and her father make the perfect team at their small, family-owned jewelry store. While the pair have always maintained a close relationship, the dynamic she shares with her mother has proven much more challenging throughout the years. Now at seventeen years old, June has found herself contemplating life beyond working at her father’s shop. 

Though it isn’t until she is befriended by a ritzy, older customer that June begins to come out of her shell. The woman’s kindness and infectious energy are a welcome addition to her young life the summer before her senior year of high school. However, secrets from her mother’s past begin to threaten June’s newfound happiness – calling into question all that she has ever known. Confronted with the often-perverse intentions of the human heart, the teen must uncover the truth which has been concealed by years of deceit.

The Review

A truly magnificent thriller, author Morgan Matthews has crafted a fantastic story that will shock and amaze readers. Not only does the author create a great cast of characters that have richly developed storylines in a short period of time, but the narrative itself takes readers through twists and turns that will take readers by surprise. 

The author’s tone and the writing style did a great job of utilizing imagery to paint a picture of each scene in the reader’s mind. This story soon begins to feel like it should be adapted into a limited series on Netflix, as the story ramps up with shocking twists that keep the plot thickening more and more. June is a well-rounded protagonist, right on the cusp of adulthood and dealing with personal struggles that readers can relate to while introducing a tense and dangerous new set of problems that could drastically change her life forever.

The Verdict

A brilliantly written, entertaining, and thrilling novel, author Morgan Matthews’ “The Child Wore Pearls” is a must-read novel. The shocking final chapters reveal a tangled web of lies and deceit no one will see coming, and as relationships are tested and new dangers unfold, June will have to learn who she really is in time to uncover the true mystery at the heart of this tale. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of this fantastic thriller today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Sign up for Morgan’s NEWSLETTER below for all the latest on promos and upcoming releases!

Morgan Matthews is a wife, mother, photographer, lifestyle blogger, and fiction writer. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, as well as a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

A Christmas Carol – in rhyme, an audiobook suitable for all ages by Dave McCluskey (Narrated by Liam Scott) Review + Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Dave McCluskey and narrator Liam Scott help bring back the classic tale of Charles Dickens’ acclaimed hit story in the audiobook hit, “A Christmas Carol – in rhyme, an audiobook suitable for all ages”. 

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The Synopsis 

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life.

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions?

The Review

An incredibly beautiful retelling of the iconic story, both author and narrator worked well together to help the source material shine for a whole new generation of readers and Christmas lovers alike. The story is both haunting and heartwarming, just as Dickens intended it, bringing to life the chilling tale of Scrooge as he walks the path to find redemption during the holiday season.

The narrator does a great job of not only bringing to life the story and characters themselves but helped craft an atmosphere befitting the Victorian-era story that Dickens wrote in. This story rings even more true in our modern times, as the gap between the wealthy and the middle and lower classes has never been further apart, and a global pandemic and economic crisis have pushed everyone to their limits. A heartfelt tale of finding one’s humanity once more and working to the true meaning of Christmas has never been more important. 

The Verdict

A brilliant retelling of a truly iconic and memorable Christmas story, author Dave McCluskey and narrator Liam Scott’s “A Christmas Carol – in rhyme, an audiobook suitable for all ages” is a must-read and must-listen this holiday season. From memorable characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim to a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere delivered through the narration, this is a fantastic audiobook you won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Dave McCluskey

Narrator: Liam Scott

Length: 1 hour 11 minutes

Publisher: Dammaged Productions

Released: Nov. 20, 2020

Genre: Classics

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