Thursday, December 11, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 10 - Doggone Christmas by Liz Dodwell

Tonight's book selection is a short murder mystery novella for pet lovers. I've technically been reading it for three whole days, although the first day I only read a paragraph before my Kindle battery died, and then yesterday was just an off day for me so I didn't get as much reading done as I should have. But without further ado, here's my review.

Genre: Murder Mystery/Holiday
Published: November 24, 2014
Pages: 104
Ages: 14+ 
(My estimate)


Polly is juggling the care of her wheelchair-bound mother, her pet-sitting business and the sale of the family home. On top of that she finds herself having to deal with an arrogant but really sexy realtor, and Christmas is coming! None of that seems important, though, when she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and must find the real killer before an innocent homeless man and his dog are wrongly convicted. 

Nothing much happens in the small town of Mallowapple, Maine, but with the Christmas holidays coming it’s a busy time for Polly Parrett and her pet-sitting crew. Temperatures are plummeting, snow is falling (That's the end of the synopsis as it appears on both Goodreads and Amazon. I only just noticed that.)


This is a heartwarming holiday story, as all holiday stories should be if you asked my mother who is a Hallmark Channel cheesy Christmas movie addict from Thanksgiving until New Years. I got to experience her addiction in all it's glory(?) last year, and I think she started to rub off on me. In fact, she is probably the reason that I decided reading 30 Christmas books in December sounded like a good idea. This is all my mother's fault! I'm pretty sure she would love this book. 

Let's start with the characters. Polly is a self-described somewhat awkward looking animal lover. She is such an animal lover that when she hears a cop threatening to shoot a dog if her owner can't get her under control, she rushes to put herself between the dog and the drawn gun. That's how she meets Rooster and gets herself involved in the murder investigation. It's clear from Polly's actions that she's one of those people that always tries to do what's right, and she pretty much always gives people the benefit of the doubt, which can be dangerous in this day and age. But she's just really a good person. Then there's Tyler, who may or may not be a decent guy. His first meeting with Polly and her pooches did not go well at all, and any man, no matter how hot, that does not get along with Polly's pets, is definitely not the man for her. He's not even worth a date, but if it's to discuss the business of selling her old family home for her mother, then she'll accept. Considering the size of this book, these characters were really well developed. Most of what we know about them is still superficial, but we receive several glimpses deeper into them. I feel like I know them about as well as anyone I went to school with for four years, although that might not be saying much.

The story was entertaining and mildly engaging, although the conflict resolution and the ending were both pretty predictable. This story was not long enough to support the various suspects and leads that are typically used in murder mystery stories, although the story with the suspects that do exist is well developed and it works well for this story. Trying to use many more suspects just to "fit" the genre would likely have only resulted in weakening the storyline. 

Doggone Christmas was also definitely a full story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It had a major conflict, a few minor conflicts, and a satisfying ultimate resolution. Structurally there is nothing wrong with it. The sentences flow and spelling and grammar were clean (there may have been one mistake, I'd have to check my notes to see for sure, but I don't really feel like it. There wasn't enough that these issues stood out to me, so you know that must mean there weren't many if any.)

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining, well written, and it has me wanting to read more in this series. Sadly, I can't do that until sometime in 2015 because this is the only book in the series so far. If you are a fan of murder mysteries, you would likely enjoy this book. - Katie

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