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Finalist, The 2014 Wishing Shelf Book Awards, 9-12 year old category.
Love it. The right mix of humor, danger and whimsy... Patricia Hamill - author of The Shadows of Valor Series, goodreads.com
This was definitely one of the most creative children's stories I've ever read, and a far more clever approach to explain the existence of Santa than the usual North Pole story! Kirsten Jany - author of Enter to Win, goodreads.com
A welcome breath of fresh air... told in a lively style. This book shines with freshness and I feel is a delightful addition to the canon of Christmas stories. Marc Secchia, author of The Pygmy Dragon and the Shapeshifter Dragons series (goodreads.com)
A fun adventure for young readers... Even as an adult, I found this story enjoyable. Highly recommended! Lana Axe - author of A Story of River, goodreads.com
This is my second time reading something from this author and I wanted to love this story as much as I loved Under the Shadow of Darkness, but unfortunately I didn't.
Edwin is a little boy staying in a boarding home run by nuns. He has a friend there named Frankie, if you could even call Frankie a friend since he is more of a bully than anything else. Edwin has a family that loves him and would like him to move back home, but he doesn't feel comfortable doing that ever since his dad got re-married.
Edwin carries a ring with him that his father gave him before coming to the boarding home and never really thought much about the ring until one night when he accidentally got his blood on the ring. After that Edwin began noticing that these strange gray men were following him everywhere and he couldn't escape them.
One of the many times that Edwin is on the run, he bumps into Santa Claus at a local department store while Santa is on his break from taking pictures with little kids. Soon Santa and Edwin realize they have a lot more in common than they thought and now Edwin has to decide what family really means to him.
This was a cute story, but I had a few problems with it. The first problem was the amount of run-on sentences in this book. At times there were entire pages with only one or two sentences. It definitely kept taking me out of the story and felt more like an oversight than anything else.
The second problem I had with the story was the age of Edwin. Edwin is supposed to be a 14 year old boy, but it definitely read more like Edwin was younger than that. To me the story made more sense if I believed Edwin was really 10 or younger. Again, a minor problem.
The final issue I had with the story was the random religious bits thrown in at the end. They felt completely out of place and I'm not really sure why they were in the story.
Those three things combined made me give the story a 3/5. Overall though I really did enjoy reading about Edwin and Santa. I thought it was a cute idea for a story and definitely one that I could see myself enjoying if I had read it when I was younger. James Cardona is a fantastic fantasy/science fiction writer so it's a little strange to see a shorter story by this author have more issues than his longer installment in the Apprentice Series.
The story was fast paced and quite very unique. This story takes place during the Depression Era, in the late 1930's when La Guardia, one of the most famous mayors of the United States, was king. (LaGuardia Airport, anyone?)
I enjoyed reading about the chase through the department store, all decked out for Christmas, and the harrowing escape through the elevator shaft. The book did have a 1930's - 1950's feel about it, and a New York one too at that.
There was so much action in this book, it was a bit hard to visualize this as a Christmas story, but hey, there's always a new twist on everything, n'est-ce pas?
Love the cover...!!!! Nice unique way to break away from these slick, yet sterile other book covers out there. Reminds me a bit of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid covers and its copycats.
Edwin Cardona is being chased by strange beeping aliens. No matter where he goes, they they are. His help comes in the form of a peaceful alien in a red suit known as Santa. But Edwin must learn to trust in order to save the planet.
I found this to be a fun read. I think that it would appeal to boys based on the way the author uses his dialogue, and the way he has created believable characters. I also liked the underlining message the story gave. My only issue, as stated by other reviewers, was that the quotation marks around thoughts kept pulling me out of the story.
But all in all, I would recommend this read, not just for Christmas, but for any time of the year.
This is such an interesting read. It will be a great read for boys especially around 14 years old.
Cardona spins a very clever story spanning a couple generations, but focusing on Edwin Cardona and how he is growing up and the adventures he faces. I won't give anything away, but it's very well written and boys of any age will enjoy. If you grew up in the 50s, you'll enjoy it too and it will bring you back in time a little.
It's got aliens and Santa...come on, it's just great! Highly recommended.
This is a great sci-fi read for any adult, young or old, especially boys. It's got good guys, bad guys, not to mention aliens, and a most unlikely hero (or two). Cardona kept me guessing until the end whether Edwin and Santa would save the day!
Even though the timing of the story does take place around Christmas time, I would recommend this story for any day of the year!
Yes, I was given the book by the author in exchange for an honest review, but these thoughts are honestly my own.
I am of the era that went to the theater to see Santa vs the Martians. From the title of this book, I was curious if it would have a similar theme. Not at all! This book has a fresh spin and is unlike any other Christmas or Santa book I have ever read.
I will try not to give spoilers, but while there are aliens trying to find Santa, Santa himself (as expected) is not exactly human. This Santa does fly a sleigh, but there are no elves slaving away in a North Pole workshop.
I did appreciate the reference to a famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore, and all the action that took place in the elevator shaft scene. PLUS the reference to pinball being banned. There was a time when I was somewhat pinball addicted.
Besides the wonderful story that James Cardona shares, I enjoyed his settings and descriptions. You feel as if you are amidst the holiday throngs, running from the strange men.
This book can be enjoyed for the simple story itself, or read deeper to find the message below, about faith and family. Everyone needs a place where they can feel they belong.