Author: L. A. Kelley
Series: No (Trying to convince the author otherwise!)
Read Type: Author request
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This is not your typical yuletide tale.
Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list.
The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Stephanie, her new manager at Penrose’s Department Store, is determined to make this season the most profitable in the store’s history, even if it sucks the life out of every employee. Introducing arbitrary rules and stealing the affections of Anthony, the cute temp Santa, were bad enough, but forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst. The worst, that is, until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List. Now all Rosalie and David must do is dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the magical guidance of the Naughty and Nice List, the world will tumble toward eternal chaos.
The Naughty List is an updated version of the Santa legend. Spiked with humor, action, and romance, the story will banish the bah humbug from anyone’s holiday spirit.
L. A. Kelley lives in Florida where the heat and humidity have driven everyone slightly mad. She never cleans under her sofa.
Strong language: Mild
Sexual content: Mild
Sexual content: Mild
I received a free copy of this novel in return for an unbiased review
Rosalie Thatcher is one of the few in this world who truly loves her job. She works in an old fashioned department store in a modern world, taking customer service seriously. She also loves Christmas. But then on the day the new manager was to be announced, widely expected to be her hard working friend, the most hated woman in the store is promoted instead.
Stupid persnickety rules, ridiculous hats and fake shoppers designed to report even the slightest infraction of the rules rule everybody's lives. Tempers rise and spirits fall, things get progressively worse. And then of course there's the shopper hiding behind the clothes rails spying before work even starts… except whenever she pulls the clothes back there's no one there and nowhere to hide.
The adventure soon kicks in as she finds, David, an E.L.F imposing on her life and begging for her help. She's thrust into a world of demons, demi-Gods and many others in between as she finds herself helping David rescue The naughty and nice book stolen from his care and the blame placed on him. There's the mall matter of hellhounds and other descendants of Gods after him, many who'd like to take her along for the ride, so times of the essence.
This is a thoroughly modern take on ancient fables and myths as they are brought into the 21st century and have to adapt to fit in. over the centuries they have bred with humans to keep their lines going, a fact that allows them to look fully human and integrate much better, assuming they don't still want to live in draconian Medieval times, with rape, torture and pillage at the top of their to do lists.
As David and Rosalie search in vain for the book they also spend time getting to know each other, and getting far closer than either intended. "He's not even fully human for God's sake!" is Rosalie's excuse to herself, but since when did the heart listen? It's a sweet, tentative romance, that she realises too late she'll do anything to keep. She'll keep working and doing whatever she has to to clear his name, and hopefully get him back.
There was a good mix of danger, different species and characters to get to meet in the book. Something new was always just around the corner, but always with enough of a break to not feel rushed.
I liked Rosalie and felt she was well rounded out. She had a cool calm to her, but also wasn't afraid to freak out at new experiences and revelations, making me laugh. For the most part the secondary cast also felt real, with everything frm a shopping mall santa complaining of back pain on the ancient throne used in the grotto, to a best friend with money troubles and a sick child.
The ending felt good and complete, I liked that they had to fight for their rights, but in the end… well, it's Christmas, and the Santa's around, how could things stay wrong. It is a feel good novel and an easy read, but long enough to get your teeth into and settle back with a hot chocolate and some festive lights. A modern take on the santa story, I think this was well done, covering many bases, while keeping to a world adults know and are comfortable in. That said, I think teens will also get something out of this story and have a laugh along the way.
While this is currently pegged as a stand along I hope to see at least one sequel following the different characters we met along the way, I think there is a lot of story left to be told, both in the past, present and future.
Overall I felt this was feel good novel for the Christmas season, and a good take on the myths surrounding it, as well as touching on many other myths from a wide variety of cultures.
The writing was good, I felt some characters had their emotions stated too often, as opposed to shown, but this was just a minor problem. The plot was good, with a wide mix of themes, layered so you never got bored of a particular one. From romance to adventure, to danger and facing down demons there was always something new and an aspect for everybody.
I hope to see a sequel.