[Audio Book] It’s a Fabulous Life by Kelly Farmer *Review Copy*

After years of putting aside her dreams of travel and adventure, Bailey George is ready to leave Lanford Falls and her responsibilities behind on a long-awaited vacation to New York City. But when the volunteer who took over her leadership position for the town’s Winter Wonderfest has a medical emergency, Bailey finds herself stuck in Lanford Falls. She gets roped into reassuming her old role, not wanting to let the town or her friends and family down.

Staying home seems slightly less terrible when Bailey runs into her high school crush, Maria Hatcher. A kiss they shared years ago in the town’s mistletoe grove was a life-defining moment for them both. Maria quickly offers to pitch in and help with Winter Wonderfest. Her sunny disposition and holiday cheer perk up Bailey’s grinchy feelings about everything.

However, one disaster after another snowball on the day of the festival. Bailey’s frustration boils over, and she ends up on the town’s old wooden bridge. There, she meets fabulous drag queen Clara Angel. Bailey declares that she wishes she hadn’t been born in this Christmas-obsessed, suffocating small town. With a little of the magic Clara possesses, she shows Bailey how wrong she is about Lanford Falls and her place in it. And that with a little hope and some true holiday spirit, there is a way to attain all her dreams.



My second pick for a Christmas story

After the wonderful anthology Whiteout, I immediately started another queer Christmas romance. The setting was far off from that of the first story. This time, we found ourselves in a small town in which everyone knowns everyone. The specialty of this town, nonetheless, is a winter festival. Our protagonist Bailey has been organizing it for years but is tired and exhausted from that. So she decided to skip the festivities this year and go to the Big Apple, to possibly start a new life away from all binding responsibilities. That is, until her high school crush Maria returns to town, and everything goes terribly wrong with the festival. Bailey couldn’t leave now, could she?


Dogs and hot chocolate

This book with its small urban setting, pets, pre-Christmas organizational madness, etc. surely evokes the spirit. I immediately fell for the cutest of all pets–Rosie and Lulu–who bring our protagonist and her love interest back together. Each of their love for their animal companion comes through repeatedly. More than that, their interest in each other is delightful and carries us through the pages or minutes. Their encounters are smoothly written and read, sometimes hilarious, sometimes deeply honest. Bailey and Maria’s relationship are surely the core of this book but not the only development to look forward to.


Beautiful side characters

I first was irritated by the frame story of the three fairy drag queens who are about to work some Christmassy magic. At their second appearance, I fortunately got their endeavor in this story. Since then, I enjoyed all their short chapters, their funny dialogues, and their simple existence. They literally bring magic into this story and Bailey’s life. With that, they turn this story in a Christmas Carol-like tale, which I always love. Additionally, I also enjoyed the appearances of certain other characters like Kurt, Alice, or Bailey’s family. They gave us this beautiful feeling of coming home by the story’s ending. Overall, the whole setting, message, and characters of the story evoke the perfect Christmassy feeling.


In conclusion,

This queer pre-Christmas love story was truly engaging and entertaining. Although most of the story was predictable due to the genre, I enjoyed the unexpected twists and the dynamic between the characters. This certainly is a book worth spending your pre-Christmas time with.



The author:

Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name is rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending. Source

The voice actors:

Pete [Cross] is an Audie Award-winning narrator.  When he was 11 years old, Pete sent a cassette tape to an address he found at the back of a magazine advertising auditions to narrate audiobooks.  He chose a selection from Dandelion Wine.  He was not hired.  At about this same time he stowed a cupcake in his knit hat walking home from school. Crumbs for days. Zip forward several decades and you can find Pete in his home studio.  He now narrates and produces audiobooks for a living.  Pete has narrated over 100 titles, has multiple Earphones Awards, three Audie finalist nods, and was nominated for a SOVAS award for his narration of Moby Dick.  He received the 2022 Audie Award for YA narration of Ryan La Sala’s Be Dazzled. Source

Mia Hutchinson-Shaw (she/her/hers) is an actor based in NYC. She trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Interlochen Arts Academy. Mia creates ridiculous and heartfelt characters who possess equal amount depth and bubbliness. With physical training in LeCoq and Clown she enjoys mining text for the awe inspired, vulnerable, and stupid. Her body of work spans audiobook narration, classical text, period drama, and screen. She was raised between Montana and Massachusetts, and matured in the friendly corners of Glasgow, Scotland. Mia has a deep appreciation for place and people in her work. Source

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