A mostly solid list of books that might be worth putting on your Christmas list.

5.  The Season by Jonah Lisa and Stephen Dyer

What it’s About:  A modern day Pride and Prejudice retelling.  Soccer player Megan is furious when her mother enters her in the Dallas Debutant season.  And things get worse when she meets the most insufferable man ever.

What I Thought:  It’s been a while since I read the Austen novel, but this is generally a fun and enjoyable modern version of the story, with one major problem.  The big issue with this book is that the Darcy character actually has a girlfriend throughout the entire book.  This left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and it was completely unnecessary.  Darcy’s girlfriend was another debutante who he spent the season escorting to all the events, but man of the escorts are not actually romantically involved with the contestants, and there was no reason “Darcy” had to be involved with her.  He could have just been doing a favour for her brother, who was his business partner and best friend.

4.  Possess by Gretchen McNeil

What it’s About:  Bridget possesses the ability to exorcise demons, and she is thus reluctantly dragged along by two priests to deal with possessions.  When someone close to Bridget is killed, she realizes she must throw herself into discovering the truth of the demons secret plan.

What I Thought:  This is a bit of a weird one.  I wouldn’t call it spectacular, but it’s a decent read in spite of some issues with characterization.  The worst part was a “friend” of Bridget’s who was basically a stalker, but there were some issues with a lot of the characters.  The main story comes to a conclusion, but there’s a subplot that seems to set up a sequel.  However the book was published back in 2011, and there is no indication that a follow-up is coming anytime soon.

3.  Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins

What it’s About:  Nolie is intrigued to be spending the summer with her father at the small Scottish village of Journey’s End, home to a mysterious fog that is said to swallow up people.  She soon befriends local girl Bel, whose family makes a living off of the tourists who come to see the cursed fog.  The girls are stunned to meet Albert Etheridge, who vanished into the fog back in 1914.  Then the fog begins creeping closer to the town.

What I Thought:  I’ve mentioned Rachel Hawkins in the past as someone to check out if you like the idea of a creepy read, but don’t want anything really scary.  She takes concepts that could be very dark, but executed them in a very light-hearted way.  Like her Hex Hall trilogy, this is a tame but fun story with appealing characters.

2.  The Archived by Victoria Schwab

What it’s About:  The Archive is a secret organization which keeps the dead people of the world, who rest in eternal slumber.  But sometimes they wake up.  When that happens, keepers like Mackenzie Bishop are called upon to return the people, called “histories”, to their resting place.  Mac is still reeling from the death of her younger brother a year before in a hit and run.  She might be tempted to wake her brother up, but she knows that those who wake up quickly begin to lose their grip on reality.  Her family moves for a fresh start, and Mac finds herself investigating a mystery involving altered records in The Archive, not knowing that her investigation will lead her to question everything she believes about the importance of maintaining the boundary between the living and the dead.

What I Thought:  This Savage Song was my introduction to Schwab.  The massive hype around that book led me to pick it up with high expectations, but it was ultimately a bit of a letdown, with the main problem being my inability to connect with the characters.  So I was a bit hesitant when I saw a number of people suggest The Archived series as a good option for a Halloween read, especially when one of the recommenders admitted that there are issues connecting with the characters in these books as well.  But I picked the books up from the library recently, and not only was I drawn in by the story, but I had absolutely no problem connecting with the characters.  I would put all the characters in these books, heroes and villains alike, far above their counterparts in This Savage Song.  Unfortunately, while this was intended as a trilogy, it is at best questionable if the third book will ever hit the shelves.  Hopefully all the buzz about Schwab’s current works will lead to more people checking out The Archived series, and the third book will eventually get green lit.

  1.  The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

What it’s About:  Nemesis is a Diabolic, a being created to be the ruthless protector of one person.  Nemesis’ only goal in life is to keep Sidonia safe, after having been purchased by Sidonia’s parents and raised alongside the girl.  Sidonia’s father is a long-standing opponent of the Emperor, and this eventually leads to Sidonia being ordered to come to the Imperial Court, in order to serve as a glorified hostage.  Nemesis is sent to impersonate Sidonia, and finds herself drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue.

What I Thought:  Anyone who has been following my blog knows that I was a big fan of Kincaid’s Insignia trilogy, and was eagerly anticipating the release of her new book.  And I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint.  Nemesis is a compelling main character in spite of being raised to be an emotionless killing machine.  I am eager to see what Kincaid will write next!

Published by Andrew Clendening