BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bea Reviews Gifted by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Traverse Press
Series: Otherworld Stories #13.4
Format Read: Kindle book
Source: owned by the reviewer
Release Date: November 13, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | iBooks | PayHipBarnes & Noble | Kobo
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Blurb from goodreads:

Contains two holiday stories, one Otherworld Pack and one Cainsville.

Gabriel’s Gargoyles - (Cainsville short story, Gabriel Walsh as 10 year old narrator.) Cainsville was where a boy could walk the streets safely at any time, day or night. Where everyone was genuinely glad to see you, and didn’t think you were odd if you wanted to keep to yourself. Because Cainsville was odd, too. For one thing, there are the gargoyles. Unlike the others, Gabriel doesn’t believe the carven creatures came to life to protect the town. It’s up to a boy to protect himself. Now he’s determined to find the last hidden gargoyle by winter Solstice. He’s also determined to get the perfect gift for his great-aunt Rose. And when Gabriel Walsh sets goals, he achieves them…one way or another.

The Puppy Plan (Otherworld novella, 9 year old Logan Danvers as narrator.) When Logan finds an puppy abandoned by the roadside a few days before Christmas, he knows it’s a sign. His sister Kate wants a dog more than anything. Their parents aren’t completely opposed to the idea. It’s just a bad time. A really bad time. Maybe next year. But now there’s this puppy in need of a home and a girl in need of a pet… So how does a boy who always plays by the rules give his sister what she wants most?

Bea's Thoughts:

Kelley's first Christmas-themed stories! Yay! I looked forward to reading these and I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed both and learned more about the narrators as well as other characters.

In Gabriel’s Gargoyle, we see Gabriel from the Cainsville books as a young boy. In the books, I have mixed feelings about grown-up Gabriel. He's sneaky, manipulative, and can't do anything in an easy or straightforward fashion. He chooses to do things he knows are wrong but he also has a code and lives by it strictly. He does kind things on his terms on  his own time and is often sneaky about it. As a young boy, he's still sneaky but he's also more open emotionally, at least around certain people. 

Though only 10 years old, his mother is, on her best days, neglectful and he prefers when she takes off and leaves him alone. When things really go well, he gets up to Cainsville for the holidays where he can spend time with his beloved great-aunt Rose. There's also a tradition in Cainsville of searching for all the gargoyle statues in town, many of which are hidden. The child who finds them all gets a treat. Gabe has left one to find while he's also working on acquiring a particular present for Rose.

Gabriel’s Gargoyle shows us younger, caring, loyal Gabriel who still has some hope but also shows the resourcefulness and smarts we've come to expect from him. Rose and Patrick from the books make appearances as their younger selves and show us glimpses of who they really are. The story overall, while not exactly happy, does have a happy ending and is full of hope.

Now The Puppy Plan takes place in contemporary times. Werewolves Elena and Clayton's twins, Logan and Kate, get a story of their own and it was delight seeing them. It was fun to see how they were similar to their parents and which parent each child most resembled and how the twins were similar yet different from each other. Logan and Kate care deeply for each other and in this they're each trying to please the other and make a dream come true. Of course, plans go awry, and there's a Gift of the Magi feel to the story. 

Both Clay and Elena have turned into good parents while still staying true to themselves. Clayton has always been mentor and teacher and now with children of his own, he gets to indulge and he also spoils hid kids. I loves seeing his interactions with the kids, Elena's interactions with them, and their interactions with each other. The story is told mostly from Logan's POV and oh, I like him. Sweet, caring, smart, and geeky, he's like a cross between Clay and the sorcerer Lucas but with the best of both. 

Both stories are delightful looks into the characters and the people important to them. We get family, Christmas spirits, a little drama and action, and a whole lot of loving that isn't sticky-sweet or over the top. Both stories had me tearing up and I enjoyed the book immensely.

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