Jingle Buds by Judy Mays

Jingle Buds by Judy Mays
Reindeer Games
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (45 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Dr. Jonathon Claus has finally achieved his dream. He’s in charge of a rural medical clinic in Idaho. Treating injured tourists is fine, but what he really enjoys is taking care of the area’s residents, many of whose families have lived in the region for generations. More importantly, he is far enough away from his mother Penelope, Mrs. Santa Claus, to avoid her attempts at matchmaking.

Then, on Christmas Eve, Emily Olson’s grandmother gets run over by a reindeer…

Jonathan and Emily know how to put in a hard day’s work. Neither one of them seems to remember how to play, though, and everyone knows what they say about all work and no play…

The dialogue was amusing. Many of the characters seemed to share the same sense of humor, so they often played off of each other in order to make certain jokes to the audience. I giggled my way through a lot of the non-sexual scenes because of this. These sections were lively and enjoyable to read.

I would have liked to see the narrator spend a little more time on Emily and Jonathan. While all of the secondary characters were definitely interesting and funny, the amount of attention the plot gave to them meant that the main characters didn’t have quite enough scenes that focused on their personalities and why they might make a good couple. This technique would have worked really well in a longer short story or a novella, but it didn’t quite gel together for me for something of this length.

With that being said, I did appreciate how much time the author took to let the tension build up between Jonathan and Emily. The slow and steady pacing in the beginning worked nicely with what I was able to figure out about their personalities as neither one of them came across to me as the kind of person who takes a lot of risks.

Jingle Buds was full of Christmas magic. It should be read by anyone who loves that time of year.

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