Showing posts from December, 2020

Christmas Special: Season of Wonder

Crossposted from Season of Wonder Various Authors, 2012, edited by Paula Guran I'm always looking for fantasy and sci-fi Christmas content, so I'm stupefied that this short story collection escaped my notice until now.   To be clear, I almost didn't read it this year either - my local library doesn't have it, and I am reluctant to pay money for any book with Orson Scott Card's name prominently on the cover, just on principle. The rest of the book is pretty good, though. Like other holiday short story collections I've reviewed, the introductions range from boring to misleading to outright undermining my enjoyment of the stories, so I tried to skip them when I could.  Reactions to individual stories follow. My favorites are starred. The Best Christmas Ever by James Patrick Kelly This atmospheric/bleak dystopian story is fine, if a bit heavy to open with. The last humans are being cared for by some sort of artificial being which is never ac

Christmas Special: A Kiss for Midwinter

Crossposted from A Kiss for Midwinter Courtney Milan, 2012 To start, a heads-up: this romance novella contains discussion of statutory rape, miscarriage, senility, compulsive behavior, and historically accurate levels of sexism and bad healthcare. Sound Christmassy yet?  You might not think so, but in fact, the Christmas setting isn't just for contrast with the stress the characters are under. It underlines the Dickensian time and tone of the setting - the poverty and strife the characters witness. Also, there are a few humorous asides where the hero looks askance at the "newfangled" tradition of decorating a tree , of all things.  Jonas is a young doctor fresh from school, full of new ideas but also deeply cynical about the world. He is in love with Lydia. However, Lydia is afraid that Jonas will reveal her dark secret: she was briefly pregnant as a teenager.  I really liked how complex each of their flaws were - nothing obvious or easy to move pa

Christmas Special: Tudor Christmas Tidings

Crossposted from Tudor Christmas Tidings Blythe Gifford, Jenni Fletcher, Amanda McCabe, 2020 This is a new book, but I did not get a copy through NetGalley for review, because Harlequin's standards for reviewers are apparently higher than this website.  Three holiday-themed historical romance novellas. I decided to give this a try when I saw it was available through my local library. I've been more interested in romance this year than previously, but my time could probably have been better spent.  Christmas at Court by Blythe Gifford I did not expect this to go into history as fast and hard as it did. The novella provided very little background information about the politics of the time, but the plot hinged on those same politics. Eventually, I was driven, ashamed, to Wikipedia to refresh my knowledge of Richard III and Henry Tudor.  The main characters in this one (Alice and John) are heirs to important noble houses, and they are semi-secretly betrothed

Christmas Special: The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories

Crossposted from The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories Multiple authors, originally printed 1944-1962, editor Craig Yoe, collection released 2018 I stumbled across this ahead of the season this year, and I'm glad I did. Now I can warn you. It's not bad for what it is, but it is not for "children of all ages."  This book is for: Comic strip historians Adults with a specific interest in vintage/historical comic books Adults with a specific interest in vintage illustration/illustrators Grandparents (really, great-grandparents) looking for a gift that their grandchild will neither like nor understand.  It's a fairly wide-ranging collection, but none of it is great. A few of the stories are not bad: one about some polar bears who want to help Santa but keep messing up is fine. One about Santa visiting an animal Christmas party where there is a Santa costume contest is pretty cute. Another stars a gnome and the Easter Bunny and they

Christmas Special: We Are Santa

Crossposted from We Are Santa Ron Cooper, 2020 New Release! A digital copy of this book was provided by Netgalley for the purpose of review. Wow. WOW WOW WOW. This might be "just" a coffee table book, but it charmed my socks off.  The premise is simple. Photographer Ron Cooper recruited fifty professional Santas (talking to and interviewing even more) and took gorgeous photographs of them both in and out of costume. The book includes quotes, profiles of some Santas, and background information. The additional info is enough to establish some context for readers who might not be familiar with the history of Santa's look or the reality of the professional Santa gig, but it's not tedious even for those of us who know this world fairly well already.  The variety is fantastic. Santas in red but also other colors, in robes and coats and pajamas and kilts and cowboy boots and military camo and a pirate-theme and... Of course, there are lots of lovely f