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An Informal Christmas: Volume 1 Paperback – 8 March 2016
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- Publisher : Ladybug Lit (8 March 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 200 pages
- ISBN-10 : 069265349X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0692653494
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 1.27 x 20.32 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 4.7 -- Plot is engaging. Has many unique elements, no major holes, and a sense of focus. Setting is clear and believable. Timeline is clear and consistent. This is a romance, but really the main focus is more about Rylie and Zach helping the sick children they love, and acknowledging the terrifying possibility that they won't get well. Which makes it sound like a somber and depressing story, but it truly isn't. It strikes a good emotional balance. I also appreciate that the HEA in this romance is them just starting to date, rather than forcing it through to an engagement or a wedding.
Characters: 4.2 -- Main characters are relatable, realistic, interesting, and dynamic. Some minor characters have depth, while others may be slightly stereotyped or simplified. Definite strong points in the relationships between characters. We're given pretty good descriptions of who the characters are -- what motivates and shapes them, and how they react to and deal with difficult situations -- but there's not a whole lot about how they grow and change as people. We do see Rylie having a bad attitude, and then realizing what she's doing and snapping out of it. Zach's shift in attitude is a bit more drawn out and takes somewhat more effort, but most of that takes place behind the scenes. I like the characters, even the minor ones, and I wish there was more about them.
Mechanics and Writing: 5 -- Few, if any, typos, punctuation issues, or word errors. (<3/100pgs) Intelligent use of POV. Skillful writing that adds to the story. Errors include a few instances of compound word confusion. Well edited overall. POV is all third person Rylie.
Redeeming Value: 5 -- Well-developed, central, uplifting themes. Drugs, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified at all. No explicit sex scenes. Clear moral guidelines for behavior. Nothing more than a couple of very innocent kisses. The only drugs are the medical kind, and we are shown glimpses of how hard cancer treatments can be on people, especially children. Takes a good look at the reality of illness, death, and grief, but with a large dose of hope and faith to keep it from being too depressing. Clear themes of facing sadness by acknowledging God's capability to see endings that are better than we can dream up, the reality that Jesus was fully human and able to understand every kind of pain, and God's ultimate control.
Personal Enjoyment: 4.6 -- I liked it a lot. Highly enjoyable and very entertaining. One I'll definitely read again.
This story drew me in. It was well-written with witty lines and a refreshingly different storyline. I thought it was even better than a five, until I got to the end. The ending was a letdown. I needed more that the mundane, lackluster conclusion given. This author is too good not to follow through with a heartwarming, satisfying conclusion. It ended okay and was headed in the right direction but felt incomplete. I gave it a 4.5, which rounded up to a 5.