SFR Holiday Reading: All I Got For Christmas

Recommend by: Riley

I picked up All I Got For Christmas because I am a fan of Pauline Baird Jones. I love her off-beat sense of humor, whether she is writing Sci Fi or Steampunk or Suspense. So I knew I would like at least half of this book. Ms. Davis is a new-to-me author. I am delighted that the two authors decided to collaborate on this project.

Other than Christmas, there are four things that that these books have in common. The first is that both are set in Wyoming. In the winter. Despite the fact that both these authors claim residence in warmer climates, their descriptions of Wyoming weather in December had me feeling the chill as I was reading.  I suppose it is possible that the chill actually came from the Iowa weather blowing outside my door.  Doesn’t matter.  I was feeling it.

Both books have aliens. Aliens that are visiting Earth and have made contact. Though I think the aliens are trying to minimize any communication with the natives. At least for now.

An unusual gift is the third commonality. I really can’t tell you more. Except to say they are the gifts are miraculous!

And finally, both books are about time travel of a sort.  In one case, it is just barely time travel and in the other case it is not really time travel. I’m not going to explain that either. You have to read the books! Speaking as one that is very picky about what I think makes a good time travel story, I can tell you that I was not disappointed.

Genie Davis’ Riding for Christmas starts with an alien abduction in 1885. When Sam Harrington was taken, the lives of the people he cared about were dramatically changed. 120 years later Jane MacKenzie is a woman trying to discover her past. A trip to her grandfather’s run down house in Wyoming changes her life in ways she will not understand for many years.

Ms. Davis does a wonderful job of jumping between time periods and amazingly tying them together. Each time I read a new piece of time the puzzle I thought ‘Oh wow!’ I read through the entire book without so much as a thought to the paradox of interacting with the past. So yeah, I was caught up in the story.

I found Riding for Christmas to be magical. Interfering aliens, an intelligent heroine, a caring cowboy hero and a special box all combine to create an enchanting story filled with hope, fate, romance, and miracles. I truly loved this story.

In Up on the House Top, Pauline Baird Jones has achieved Quirky. That is with a capital ‘Q’. It is hard to say what makes it quirky without giving too much away. But I will give it a shot.

Author Gini Prescott goes home to Wyoming for Christmas. Once home, Gini’s mom Desi and her childhood friend/high school sweetheart Dex have her reliving parts of her youth. Especially those adolescent years when she first developed a crush on Dex. I found myself identifying with Gini’s 13-year old insecurities. I’m not sure I was happy to do that. But I gave in and dived into the story. Much to the chagrin of adult Gini, her 13-year old experiences become pertinent to the story.

Overnight, things turn, well, crazy. In the ensuing insanity, Dex and Gini will have a chance to consider why things did not work out for them and maybe even fall for each other again. It is a romance after all. But romance won’t be easy. First they will have to deal with ETs, teenagers, lack of modern communication technology, and Gini’s boss (otherwise known as The Big Chill).

As much as I appreciate the humor in Up On the House Top, there are also some more tender moments.  Gini’s mom, is an endearing character who has reached an age where her body and her mind are no longer that of the mother that Gini remembers.  If you have an older parent or grandparent, you will appreciate Gini’s feelings for her aging mother.  Gini observes that her mom seems to be getting smaller all the time.  I could relate.

Up on the House Top is as magical as its counterpart in the anthology. With the magic comes a healthy does of family togetherness, quirkiness, and Christmas spirit. Just another Pauline Baird Jones book that left me smiling!


Pauline Baird Jones’ Website

Genie Davis’ Website

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