A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Summer Santa by Ward Maia


Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Sam struggles with the climate, the job, and the language when he arrives in Brazil after accepting a job transfer.  With the Christmas holidays coming, Sam is looking forward to being alone in his small, boring apartment and that’s about it.  He wishes for more when his sexy coworker James helps him with a computer problem, but Sam’s too backward to ask him out.

A key phrase in the blurb is “significant low self-esteem” as that is the driving force of this story.  His family surprises him with a holiday he won’t soon forget and he bumps into James on the beach and that leads to a night before Christmas Eve that fulfills his dreams.  But Sam is not the driving force behind any of these good things, and his insecurity and inability to articulate what he wants form the crux of the story. 

It’s evident the author is new as the writing style and repetitive words and phrases are quite elementary—he “found himself” once too often for me.  The trope of the cute guy who’s insecure about his looks, his ability to find someone to love him, etc. is overdone and, unfortunately, not one I like at all. 

A key element in the blurb is that Sam is a magazine journalist, and yet that’s not mentioned in the beginning pages of the story and when it finally is stated, it’s only in passing.  Another issue is the language barrier he apparently can’t get past, and yet that, too, is only mentioned in the beginning and seems to disappear. We never learn whether James is also an American or if he’s Brazilian, and if a native, does he speak English fluently? Because Sam sure doesn’t speak anything other than English.  Sam’s family members were a bit OTT as well, especially his aunt and his sister.

Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped, others may not be as bothered by the insecure and lonely MC theme as I am and so may enjoy the story.

The cover by Adrian Nicholas is one of this year’s holiday designs featuring two characters in a portal with the lower edges a standard red with large white snowflakes. The characters represent the two MCs, though Sam is much better-looking than one would think from reading the story, and James looks much more like a player than a nice-guy coworker. 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644050576
Edition Language  English

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