Friday, December 20, 2013

Naughty or Nice / Various

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Short Story Anthology / Christmas

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Contributions from ten different authors:

Barbra Annino, J.R. Rain, Christiana Miller, Rose Pressey, Helen Smith, Heather Massey, Liz Schulte, Toni LoTempio, Danielle Younge-Ullman and J.W. Becton.


“A mix of magical, spooky, and romantic tales for the holidays.”

All proceeds of this book benefit Kids Need to Read.


A fun collection of longer short stories (the longest actually novelette length) with very little in common except they’re all good and the holiday season has some role in each. Some have a supernatural or paranormal element. Some have characters from one of the author’s novels, although I never felt I needed backstory about those characters to understand or enjoy the story.

I considered singling out stories that stood out as especially good or different than the others and realized I couldn’t. Genres run the gambit from a cozy mystery (Helen Smith’s Real Elves, featuring characters from her Emily Castles series) to what might be described as a psychological thriller in Barbra Annino’s The Perfect Gift. There are a couple stories where Santa Claus needs some help (Krampus Klaus by Christiana Miller and J.R. Rain’s The Santa Call). The possibility of budding romance on Chinese New Year in Heather Massey’s Fortune Cat’s Visit has a lesson about giving that, while the story wasn’t about Christmas, might have captured the spirit of the season best of all.


Spelling conventions vary and appear to be dependent on the residence of the author.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing and copyediting misses.

Rating: ***** Five stars


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Looks good. I think I will head over and grab a copy. Happy Holidays, Al!

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks, Karen. Happy Holidays to you too. Let us know what you think of it. (I think you'll like it.)

Helen Smith said...

Thank you for the review. I was delighted to be asked to contribute a story to this anthology. I have spent the last few days reading the other stories and I love them all! I'm happy to be in company with such talented authors, raising money for such a good cause.

Wishing you all the best for 2014.

Helen Smith said...

And Karen - thank you! I hope you enjoy all the stories as much as I did. Happy Christmas to you, too.


thank you for the kind review. It was an honor for me to be in this anthology with so many other talented authors.

Toni Lotempio

Vicki said...

Sounds like a fun read. I like that all the stories are eclectic in tone. :)

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks for the comments, Helen and Toni. It was an enjoyable read.

Yes, Vicki, I was surprised when I reflected back on the stories how varied they were without making me feel like they didn't belong together.