Tis the Season

Although I’m a total Scrooge when it comes to Christmas music — I overdosed many years ago and haven’t been able to enjoy most Christmas carols since — I always do enjoy wintry and Christmasy stories as we move through December. This year is no exception.

Partly by chance, I opened Patrice Greenwood’s latest Tearoom mystery a few days ago — Red as Any Blood. I hadn’t realized it was a Christmas-themed story, but it is. I liked it a lot, partly because it was perfect for the season. The title comes from The Holly and the Ivy, by the way. I hadn’t remembered the line, but it is —

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good

If I’d recognized that, I would have known it was set at Christmas. Well, it worked out perfectly even though I did not recognize the lyric.

Once reminded that I do enjoy Christmas-themed stories at this time of year, I recalled that waiting on my Kindle was a Regency titled A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong. Well, obviously this would be a good time to open it up. I like it so far — I like the falcons and I like the two lead characters. It’s going to be a pretty swoony type of romance, that’s clear, but I think I’m in the mood for that.

Speaking of Christmasy Regencies, I do recommend these novels by Theresa Romain. I liked all of them. She’s one of the few writers who can write a sex scene that I can stand to read.

Okay, segue to fantasy — of course The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a perfect choice to re-read at this time of year.

So is Wintersmith — not for Christmas, but for winter. It wasn’t my favorite of the Tiffany Aching stories, but I think that’s because I didn’t read it in the proper wintry frame of mind.

And of course this year an excellent story to try is Winter of Ice and Iron, which was just picked out as a great seasonal choice by Shana DuBois of the Barnes and Noble SFF Blog.

Rachel Neumeier’s Winter of Ice and Iron is one of the most satisfying fantasy reads I’ve enjoyed all year. I closed the book already aching for more of the characters and setting, and immediately settled in for a reread…

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