My 1st Audio Book! I’M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS by Molly Harper


Cover of I'M DREAMNG OF AND UNDEAD CHRISTMASHalf-Moon Hollow/Nice Girl Spin Off
By Molly Harper
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 3 hours and 43 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Audible, Inc. Release Date: December 5, 2013
Amazon/Audible: Free Download

It’s Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi’s first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It’s taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi’s safety. Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there’s the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi’s peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him. Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?

My Take!I normally don’t listen to audiobooks, but this new novella by Molly Harper is FREE on audible (or was 12/19/13) and it’s not available in print or e-book. I saw this on The Book Nympho’s Blog and had to download and listen to it immediately.  I love Molly Harper; when there is something out by her I will generally read it as fast as I can.  Lacking that option here I listened – on the elliptical, waiting in line a half-hour at the post office, and then when I came home from some Christmas shopping fun with a friend.

My biggest complaint with a audiobook is I generally read faster  than the spoken word and I have a terrible audio attention span.  The first issue of speed was alleviated by being able to increase the speed of the narration. The second was harder to overcome.  I found myself looking for something to do and losing track of the book.  Eventually I settled down and just listened to the excellent narration.

The narrator gave each voice a slightly different tone, but always as if filtered through the first person narration. As if GiGi was sort of imitating the person.  She offered an appropriately upbeat, well modulated narration with feeling but without acting.

I enjoyed Gigi, a character from THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES.  Back then she was a student in high school but now she’s a twenty year old about to graduate from college. She’s matured a lot and is no longer really difficult for her sister Iris who owns the Vampire concierge service in their area. The sisterly relationship has matured as well. Iris is still quite the parent having raised Gigi after their parents’ deaths, but she is giving her more space.

The theme of what does “normal” mean in a family full of vampires, with werewolf friends is the crux of the story. Iris is now a vampire, and what is normal has to be rewritten for them.   Iris wants to give GiGi a happy and human Christmas (Just like the ones they used to know). But, as GiGi tells her they aren’t normal and that is fine with her.  GiGi also has a bunch of stuff happening – it’s mentioned in the blurb, but she is definitely at a crossroads in her life.  Decisions she makes now are going to be with her for the rest of her life.

While GiGi and the other characters feature the delightful snark that seems endemic in Half-Moon Hollow, I did feel the story was without a central event; or maybe it was just that no one was trying to assassinate another character. It had a lot of little things going on, and ties up Iris’s  and Cal’s story is nicely tied up of it’s loose ends, but there wasn’t one huge, major story.  There are several climaxes of story lines but without anyof them feeling like the “main plot.”

I still enjoyed it, and found it was a great way, because it wasn’t too long, to introduce myself to this format.    Also being able to change the speed at which the narration moved was helpful.  I still missed reading it though, but it was a different type of “reading” experience. It would be perfect for the road trip that often accompanies the Christmas holiday.
As always, Molly’s story is a feel good tale. There’s a big string left loose here so I hope it is incorporated into the next book.
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