This media Monday brings you books I’ve read and enjoyed or am interested in reading. Because there’s so many books and so little time, I’m sorting them accordingly.
I’m skipping anything that is too schmaltzy or is deep in a series. There is no cozy Christmas mystery that isn’t #42 in the series. I’ve only found one that is the first in a series and it’s definitely not a cozy mystery.
Some people think 3 stars can go either way. In this case, I liked it but didn’t love it enough to rate it high. Not bad but not my favorite but you may like it so it’s included.
Krampus by Brom
A singer-songwriter trying to save his relationship gets dragged into the battle between Krampus and Santa Claus. 4/5
Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox
A standard rom-com of a book but this one has dogs. 3.5/5
A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood Told in Holidays by David Valdes Greenwood
A collection of essays. 3/5
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Entertaining and interesting but a little dated. I feel like people skipping Christmas is more believable now. 3/5
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
A Christmas Carol plays out every year at Project Scrooge with Holly, a failed Scrooge, as the ghost of Christmas past. A brilliant and emotional YA story about loss, love, and the human condition. 5/5
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe by Charlaine Harris
A fun anthology that does what it says on the tin. 4/5
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
This book does and doesn’t take place at Christmas. There is a powerful and evil man who takes children to Christmasland. Vic is the only one to escape him and this makes things more complicated when he comes for her son. 4/5
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
This novel has enough ridiculous coincidences that it could feel unbelievable but they’re handled with enough awkwardness and seriousness that it works. 3/5
Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb
A story about a young man’s Christmas in 1964. 3.5/5
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
A little boy makes a wish that a very dumb angel gets very wrong. Hijinks ensue. 4/5
The North Pole Employee Handbook by James Napoli
For those of you with a black sense of humor. Entertaining if a little derivative. 3/5
Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler
A collection of stories that take place at the same Manhattan bookshop at the same time of year. 4/5
My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins
An enjoyable YA anthology of Christmas stories. 4/5
On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
A novel about what happens when women stop doing all the work for Christmas 4/5
Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson
A beautiful book and excellent collection. Some spoke to me more than others but that’s how these usually work. 4/5
Krampusnacht edited by Kate Wolford
A fun indie anthology about the dark lord of Christmas. Some of the stories here took some very interesting turns. 4/5
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison-Allen
A town discovers a little Christmas magic.
Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony
The tale of a Just No family at the holidays.
Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen
A woman gets kidnapped for Christmas.
Wandering Stars edited by Jack Dann
A Hanukkah anthology
When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State by Tim Dorsey
They had me at “The perfect antidote for all those sappy feel-good holiday novellas” and kept me at “The righteous serial killer Serge A. Storms and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman return to wreak havoc on Christmas”
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden
A horror anthology that got a lot of positive buzz last year. I can’t believe I didn’t get to it.
Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith
A creative retelling of the wise men.
The Dark Side of the Road by Simon R. Green
A dark mystery on a blessed day.
Season of Wonder edited by Paula Guran
An anthology of fantastical Christmas stories.
Christmas Magic edited by David Hartwell
Another collection of fantastical Christmas stories
Hiddensee by Greogry Maguire
The man who gave the Wicked Witch a deeper story now grants one to the famous nutcracker.
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
A Christmas tale for the Discworld universe.
The Twelve Doctors of Christmas edited by Jacqueline Rayner
Started but not finished this Doctor Who anthology. I need to fix this.
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers
I imagine it does what it says on the tin
Anna and the Apocalypse by Katharine Turner
Angtsy teen drama around Christmas turns into a fight to survive zombies. Inspired the movie musical.
A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis
A sci-fi collection of short stories.