by Edward Lorn
This collection includes all three Christmas stories by Edward Lorn.
The Naughty List
In which we learn that Santa's elves have their evil counterparts at the North Pole, called Naughties.
Deck the Halls
In which we work out that these three stories are a continuing story and several Christmas myths are woven together to create an original alternative world where Santa, or Sinter Klaus, deals with Krampus, the Naughties, and a host of toys gone bad in Toyland. This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but in the combined volume, the story continues!
Beyond the Gates of Toyland
Completes the series. I found believability stretched a little in this one but the mythology added to the mix was certainly an original idea.
The writing in these was good and the stories drew me in despite my trepidation of reading an author who is known for extreme Horror. While the content was undoubedly Horror, there was nothing in this to squick my boundaries so it was a good first Lorn read for me.
As alternative Christmas stories go, I would actually recommend this for fans of Horror fiction. Don't expect a nicey-nice Holiday story though, that's not the goal here.
Virgin River, Book 4
I Picked Up This Book Because: #Barbsbookopoly roll 1.
Mel, Jack, Preacher, Paige, Doc, Hope
Marcie’s husband has passed away after a long recovery from a bombing in Iraq. She sets out looking for the man who rescued him to find some closure with a friend who has recused himself from society. Ian is by all accounts a great friend and a great C.O. but comes home from his tour with more than a few mental scars.
Ian and Marcie save each other in different ways. I quite enjoyed their story and I enjoyed another visit to Virgin River, even if this mostly takes place on the outskirts.
The Random Thoughts:
by Camilla Ochlan & Bonita Gutierrez
This took a while to settle into because it was dialogue heavy and I felt there wasn't enough description or exposition to easily grasp what was going on right away, not to mention a few names beginning with X raising questions about pronunciation.
Eventually I caught on that all the chatter about make-up and wardrobe was preparation for a television appearance, wherein the werewolf whisperer was expected to give a demonstration. What could go wrong?
The author's note at the end also pointed out that this was related to a series. My feeling is that the Christmas add-on expected a certain amount of familiarity with the original story.
To me the plotting didn't really hold together, although I started to get to know a couple of main characters. I do have the first book of the series and will attempt to read that soon, but if it's as disjointed as this one, it might become a DNF.
We did get a werewolf transformation, but the strands of story were such that I couldn't tell you how that came out.
by Anna Selby
This is a nice collection of information about British Victorian Christmas traditions and where they actually originated. It includes the Pagan origins of the date for Christmas and the Germanic background to Christmas trees and to putting charms into the Christmas pudding, as well as a comprehensive recipe for making a traditional Christmas pudding from a Victorian hand-written recipe book. It also details what contributions the Victorians added to our modern view of Christmas, including the pudding and the slow adaptation in modern times to Christmas Cake. I had to smile at the suggestion that the transition was due to making the cake without alcohol, as my family recipe for Christmas Cake uses nothing but brandy for the liquid in the recipe.
It's a well-researched book that goes into every possible Christmas tradition, including the origins of Christmas cards and singing carols. There is a wealth of old recipes, many from the Mrs Beaton Cookbook for things like traditional Wassail, gingerbread in various forms and mincemeat, as well as a vast array of recipes for cooking a spectrum of meats that Victorians from different stratas of society might include in their Christmas feast.
Christmas decorations and the origins of many of the traditions for those are explained followed by the background to Panto and Boxes, two things still common in England though not well known in the U.S.
While I'm not likely to use the wealth of recipes provided, their historical significance makes them of interest. Also included are the lyrics for many old Christmas carols, script samples from mummer's plays and an excerpt from Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Whether these are historically significant or filler could be a matter of opinion.
The book finishes off with related New Year traditions and some information that the date for Christmas has actually moved from the new year dates over time and changing calendars, which I didn't know before.
As a reference book this is very thorough and professionally presented. It's not always riviting reading, but most reference books aren't.