Tuesday, December 16, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 14 - I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper

Today's selection is an audiobook that I made good use of while marathon baking. Once again I'm a day late because I discovered that I couldn't use my mixer and hear my book at the same time, so I wasn't quite able to finish it yesterday. But I'm getting it done early today, so it's almost the same as getting it finished yesterday, yes? Just agree with me, it's easier.

Audiobook cover

Kindle Cover

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Holiday
EBook Published: November 17, 2014
Audiobook Published: December 5, 2013
Pages: 132
Listening Length: 3 hours, 43 minutes
Ages: 14+
(My Estimate)


It's Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi's first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It's taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi's safety. Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there's the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi's peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him. Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?


I don't listen to a lot of audiobooks. I don't really have much reason to because I can't focus on them during the day when my children are running around playing, and after they're in bed I would prefer to just read. I found this audiobook for free though and figured I might have a day when it would come in handy and I was right! Now, the problem that I have with audiobooks is that I tend to tune them out like background noise, and I have to actually put a concerted effort into paying attention to the story most of the time. I'm going to blame my parents for this because we used to listen to Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone Days tapes on our yearly drive from eastern Kansas to the mountains in Colorado for vacation, so I have a LOT of practice tuning audiobooks out. I did make a concerted effort to pay attention to this book though, and I think I mostly succeeded.

I'm going to start by discussing the narration. Based on comments I've seen from others on the internets, audiobook narration can make or break the book. I thought this narration was pretty darn good. Amanda Ronconi, the narrator, seems to have a naturally sarcastic voice that was perfect for Gigi who's inner dialogue just drips with sarcasm. The voices of the characters were passable. Characters with obvious accents were easily distinguishable, but the other characters, especially male characters, sounded pretty similar. There were quite a few characters though, so a little voice overlap is probably to be expected. 

I thought this story was hilarious, possibly because I really enjoy dry sarcastic humor and this book was full of it. It felt like a mix of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and the best parts of Twilight. Iris, a newly turned vampire, is trying to give her still human sister Gigi the most traditional Christmas you could possibly imagine. She is like Clark Griswold in his attempts to find the perfect Christmas tree and light up his house so that it could be seen from space, in fact, she actually seems to copy these things from Clark. Gigi is responsible for most of the food production, but her culinary skills are on par with Aunt Bethany's cat food jello salad. Fortunately someone else makes the turkey so it doesn't end up a dried out mess. 

The major characters in this story were fairly well developed even though it is book 2.7 in a series. I didn't feel like I was supposed to just know them already, although I would probably have enjoyed the book even more if I did. 

Overall I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was interesting enough that I want to buy the kindle copy just to make sure I didn't miss anything in the story by accidentally tuning it out, and I want to read other books in the series. If you are a fan of audiobooks, or have a daily commute to work and are looking for a good, free holiday book to listen to, this would be perfect for you. - Katie 

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