The Santa Claus Man (crosspost)

Friday, December 22, 2017


The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York
Alex Palmer, 2015

Premise: In the early 1900s, more children began to write letters to Santa, and the Post Office asked for help. Enter John Duval Gluck Jr. and his creation: The Santa Claus Association.

This was an interesting book overall, although the payoff is smaller than I would have preferred.

The book paints a complex and intriguing picture of New York in the first few decades of the twentieth century, particularly around Christmas. The specific story of Gluck and his various "charities" is only the largest thread; the book also explores early influences on the image of Santa, how various staples of Christmas (public tree-lightings, parades, etc.) started or became notable in New York City.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas

Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus (crosspost)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus
Edited by Kate Wolford, 2014

Premise: Twelve short stories about Krampus. Variously known as the Christmas demon, the punisher of naughty children, and the star of several recent horror movies, Krampus has been having a bit of a moment recently.

Anthologies are generally hit and miss, and in attempting to please many tastes, this one definitely had some misses for me.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas

The Silence of the Elves (crosspost)

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Silence of the Elves
Meg Muldoon, 2016

Premise: Holly's been demoted right out of the North Pole through no fault of her own, but she'll need more than hope to get her life back on track.

You may recall that I kind of liked another one of Meg Muldoon's holiday-themed cozy mysteries, so when I saw she had a new series that was explicitly about Christmas elves, I had to try it.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas

Holidays on Ice

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holidays on Ice
David Sedaris, 2008

I haven't been subjected to this unpleasant an attempt at "humor" in some time.

I thought I knew what I was getting into with this, and I expected it to be mixed. Erin spoke in the past about how much he disliked most of the Sedaris segments on This American Life.

Read the whole review on Mainlining Christmas

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas (crosspost)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas
Terry Spear, 2017

New Release! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.


I sort of hate that I'm spending any more time and energy on this godforsaken turd of a book.

The heroine starts out on a camping trip, where she's bitten by what honestly sounds like a fluffy puppy. After some terrible description and confusion on my part, I guess that must have been a wolf because now she's a werewolf. She sees a mysterious wolf across a river. And that's the set-up.

Two years later, she has abandoned her friends and family to live alone and write paranormal romance. The author spends endless pages introducing the male lead by recapping what sounds like at least a dozen earlier books, none of which have any bearing on the events of THIS book.

The male lead is a PI who's been hired to find her because her adoptive parents died and left her money. It's mentioned a few times that the heroine is adopted, which is a good use of everyone's time because it NEVER matters to the plot at all.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas

If the Fates Allow (crosspost)

Monday, December 4, 2017


If the Fates Allow
Edited by Annie Harper, 2017

New Release! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.

Premise: Five stories of love, hope, and forgiveness at the holidays.

Do you need some warm and fuzzy holiday cheer? Do you love love?

This new collection features five LGBTQ holiday romances that make your heart feel full of sugarplums. I smiled and sighed and giggled. It's seriously sweet, without being too sweet.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas

Murder, She Wrote: Manhattans and Murder and Murder, She Wrote: A Little Yuletide Murder (Crosspost)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Murder, She Wrote: Manhattans and Murder (1994) and Murder, She Wrote: A Little Yuletide Murder (1998)

By Donald Bain

The Christmas episode of the show was fairly lackluster, so I suppose it's fair that the novels match. These two brief books are part of a long-running spin-off series that apparently someone will continue to write until society crumbles. (Seriously, Book 47 is available for preorder.)

The two books have a few things in common. The author can write passable lines of dialogue and narration, but there's no build from scene to scene and the story as a whole is utterly forgettable.

Both books seem determined to raise but refuse to sensitively address social issues (drug addiction and teenage pregnancy, respectively).

Most bizarrely, both books feature a minor subplot about someone asking Jessica to write a true-crime novel about the events going on. Unless this was a running gag in all the books, it seems strange not to reference the first event, given the other superficial similarities. (Both books feature the death of a Santa, the first a man raising money on a street corner, the second a farmer who always played Santa in the town festival.) You might think that I'm the only person who's going to read the second (first by some counts) and tenth books in this series back-to-back and notice this, but they were re-released as one volume in 2009.

Read the full review on Mainlining Christmas.