Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped
AUTHOR: B.G. Thomas
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 131 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 25, 2017
Ned Balding used to be a decent man—until the stress of seemingly countless responsibilities changes him, and he becomes cold and driven—the kind of man who considers firing an employee days before Christmas. The kind of man who kicks a dog…. But Ned’s transgressions haven’t gone unseen. A Salvation Army Santa witnesses his misdeeds and decides Ned needs to be taught a lesson.
When Ned wakes up the next morning, he’s stunned to discover he’s been transformed into a dog.
In the past year, Jake Carrara has lost his mother, a lover… even his dog. His boss came close to firing him just before the holidays. He isn’t sure he’s ready for another pet when he’s asked to foster a dog, but Jake’s good heart won’t let him refuse. Little does he know, this isn’t just any dog.
Through a twist of fate, two people with little reason to be friends might teach each other to rediscover the good—and the love—in life.
This was a cute little holiday story. Kind of reminded me of a canine version of A Christmas Carol. But a very true lesson. If you are nasty to people and push them away, you will lose them and have nobody.
Ned was a down right asshole. He was mean to his employees, he worked so much he never gave any time to his husband and he pushed his husband away. A fight ensued where Ned went too far and his husband packed up and left. A few days later Ned was handed divorce papers. And then he yelled at an employee, Jake, for taking time off that he needed. He was just being a dick. Since his father died, he had to take over the company, or felt he had to. And it made him a horrible person. So on his way home that night, he ran across a Salvation Army Santa and a dog he tried to kick out of the way. Yes, kick. Santa, or Father Time, decided to give one more chance for Ned to make amends right there, but Ned would have no part of it. And the next morning he woke as a dog. To teach Ned a lesson he had to remain as a dog until his lesson was learned. And he had to be picked up by the pound and was sent to someone to be fostered. And that someone was sweet, sweet Jake. Ned couldn’t believe it. Over the course of a week as a dog, Ned started to really learn about Jake and boy did he feel horrible. He also had time to reflect on how his relationship with his husband was and was glad he got to move on. It was time. But he also learned all the things that had made him happy. And he hated how he had become. In a twist of fate one night, Ned saves Jake’s life, knowing he would lose his own. He finally learned his lesson and learned love.
Ned went through a lot as a dog. Even though he was a dog, he still understood everything. He listened as people spoke of the human version of him and it wasn’t nice. He reflected on how horrible things really were with his husband. He even reflected on how bad he had treated Jake. He fell in to this hole after losing his father, where all he did was work. He felt he was the only one of his siblings who could run the company and the cross was too much too bear. It made him a horrible person. But as a dog, he had nothing but time to reflect. He even reflected on why all of a sudden he hated dogs. And all the memories came flooding back. How horrible his dad was. But then the good times. Why he fell in love with his husband in the first place. Why he loved his sister’s kids even though now he called them monsters. Why he really did love dogs. But mostly now he saw how much Jake really was coming to mean to him. He couldn’t help but feel protective. And loving. He loved Jake. And he knew his time with his husband was over. Maybe he could move on himself and Jake would give him a chance. But he had to learn his lesson first. And boy did he ever.
Good book to read. I recommend it. It’s cute but it whacks a punch toward the end. There are tears that get shed. And even little funny spots to make you laugh. But also an important lesson. Don’t be a dick. Don’t push people away. Make time for those you love. Don’t let something consume who you are and change you into something bad. Be good. Be lovable. Make time.