This year, I wanted to do what I know some of my friends in blogland have been doing every year: Holiday Reading. So, two weeks or so ago, I started on a specific hunt on Amazon for free ebooks with a holiday theme, and found quite a lot.
Here are short reviews of the ones I have read so far. (Since all of these were rather short, and I did not complete the last one, instead of counting 5 books, I count them as 3.)
Four Weeks 'Til Christmas
by Jayn Wilde
Jayn is on blogger, too, as I have found out. You can find her blog post announcing the release of her christmassy novella here. This romantic story starts - you guessed it - four weeks before Christmas, when Noelle literally bumps into a man at the department store where she works.
Little does she know (but the reader, of course, does!) that this event has consequences - both for herself and the man. Read this if you are not afraid of very sweet romance, where the people involved "gasp for breath" nearly every time they set eyes on each other, and their bodies "tingle" all over whenever they hear each other's voices etc. Some of the characters are quite nice, some are too good to be true, and I don't think I am going to go and look at all the other books by this author.
The Christmas Bake Off
by Abby Clements
Click here for the author's website. Any book that involves a Yorkshire village and its characters is bound to catch my interest, and this short story did not disappoint. It was just what I had expected: some real characters, a Christmas bake off at the village hall, a budding romance and a crime (that turns out very harmless and is solved in a most unpretentious manner). Short and sweet, and I wouldn't mind coming across this particular setting again in a longer book.
Courtney's Christmas Wish
by H. M. Bailey
Couldn't find an author's website apart from Facebook, but I am not linking there; if you are on Facebook, of course you can look her up easily.
Courtney is invited to a party at her best friend's place, knowing full well (and preparing for it) that she'll see the man there she's had a crush on for so long. Of course, things don't go smoothly at first, but I can't imagine any reader being kept in suspense by this short novella, or surprised by the outcome. Just right for the length of two or three short train rides to and from work.
by Kristine Pierce
The author's website with more information about the book is here. A - for me - unusual approach to Christmas: Here, we are in the Philippines, and it was quite interesting for me to read how this holiday is celebrated in a part of the world I know very little about, and which in all likelihood I am never going to see for myself.
Read this if you want a short, easy Holiday read with a different approach (no snow in this one!).
A Grosvenor Square Christmas
by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble
I only read the first of the four stories in this book and then deleted it, because I know I am not going to read the other three. For me to enjoy romance in a (more or less) historical setting, I have to be in a certain mood, and I definitely was not in the right mood for Regency when I started on this one.
Don't get me wrong - the writing in this one is not so bad (I've seen much, much worse), and I can imagine that the stories do grip the imagination of some readers, just not mine.
For all the sweet romantic stuff in those five ebooks, I was very much in need of something more substantial, just like you'll want something savoury to eat after you've spent an afternoon baking cookies. Good job then that I can parallel-read when it comes to very different subjects, and that is what I have been doing nearly all the time, with a rather interesting work of non-fiction. That, of course, will be subject of another review.