Book Reviews

Sometimes the Best Presents Canít Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 25-December-2017

Book Blurb

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.

Book Review

A very interesting take on ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, this story is about Ned, a man who has made more than one mistake, becomes a total *sshole, and has to learn a very hard lesson: you cannot treat your fellow human beings like dirt and it is not acceptable to take out your anger on innocent pets. Different from Ebenezer Scrooge’s lesson in the form of seeing his own life in the past, present, and future, Ned is taught about what is right and wrong from the perspective of a dog while still being mentally and emotionally fully human.

Ned is a very focused man. He is driven to succeed, and lets the stress dominate his priorities to the point where his husband asks for a divorce because he no longer feels that Ned cares for him. This only makes Ned angrier and more determined, and he ends up in a downward spiral that makes him a horrid person. Ned has no empathy and no ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective. He gets to the point where he loses sight of what is important in life. Christmas is not even on his radar, he sees it more as an excuse for a holiday than a reason to show empathy. Being a decent human being is not something he knows how to do. When it gets to the point where Ned almost fires an employee just before Christmas, then kicks a dog in the street, the Salvation Army Santa who witnesses this decides to take action – and what a way to teach Ned a lesson!

Jake is almost the complete opposite of Ned. He has suffered at least as much, having lost his mother, his lover, and even his dog recently. But his reaction is very different to Ned’s: Jake remains a nice guy who just tries hard to deal with his sadness. His reaction when he is asked to foster a dog – Ned – is understandably hesitant, but he is too nice to refuse. Jake can see the need of the dog to find a good home, and even though he is not ready for a new pet, Jake is not willing to let the dog suffer. Jake is a fundamentally decent guy and the way he bonds with his new dog is amazing.

Learning to see life from a dog’s point of view and getting to know Jack at the same time is a great way for Ned to learn to be a better human. Ned’s issues with getting used to being a dog, having lost the ability to speak but still being able to communicate some basic concepts, was fascinating. B.G. Thomas did an excellent and very believable job making me see life from Ned’s point of view, and while I really despised him as a human, Ned as a dog slowly wormed his way into my heart. It’s quite the transformation, and the ending is absolutely perfect.

If you like Christmas stories with a message, if you want to see how a little “Santa magic” can help two men find each other, and if you’re looking for an entertaining read that is as thoughtfully developed as it is emotionally touching, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It is one of the best Christmas stories I have ever read!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 131 pages/46309 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-December-2017
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link