Yes, I've done it again: I've given my mind a sugar-shock of over-sweet holiday reads once more, after the ones listed on this post. And just like last time, for the brevity of one of them, I count them as three reads although there were actually four of them.
Christmas with the Alexanders
by M. Malone
This was relatively short and relatively nice. The Alexanders are a big, close-knit family who celebrate Christmas at their house with so many people I lost count: several sons and their wives/girlfriends, a bunch of children, plus some non-relatives who end up as house guests. A man and a woman who keep their feelings hidden from each other, thinking that the other person mustn't know they love them. A young single mother who feels more at ease with the Alexanders than with her own parents. A car crash that could have ended really badly. These are the ingredients for a story that, I realized later on, I should not have read - since it was not meant to be a standalone read, but is part of a series about the Alexanders.
You can find out more about the books and their author here.
Nine Days in December
by Suzie Dawson
Too short for me (approx. 30 pages, if it were in print) to really get into the story or the characters, whom I didn't like very much in the first place. A woman loses her job when she ends her affair with her (married) boss. She has to come to terms not only with having no job and not much money just before Christmas, but also with her mother coming to stay.
Home For Christmas
by Patricia Kay
The best of this bunch of free ebooks, and also the longest.
Quinn and Maureen's parents died when they were children, and they were raised by their aunt. All during their childhood, they were very close, but later fell out over a man. That lead to Quinn leaving their home town and not return for ten years. Only when their aunt needs her help after an accident does Quinn come home - in time for Christmas. Will she make up with her sister? What role does her aunt's tenant play?
The typical ingredients - girl meets guy, they both heartily dislike each other, and you know exactly where that is going to lead - are there, but the story is well written and the characters, to a certain extent, are credible.
Several scenes had enough tension for me to keep going; they could have gone different ways (but in the end did not fail to deliver as expected).
Unlike with the other books, the editing was well done; there weren't any typos or other errors. The author is apparently quite well known; it was the first time I have come across her. Click here for her homepage.
by Alice Bex
According to the subtitle, this is a "rom com", a romantic comedy. Romantic, yes, because there is plenty of that in the book. Comedy - hmm... maybe my sense of humour differs greatly from the author's, since I did not find anything to laugh about in the book. The story is quickly told: Divorced mother of cute little girl knows that what is really missing from her life is love. At a shopping mall, the daughter insists on meeting Santa. The man behind the Santa beard and costume happens to be an old school friend of the woman's younger brother, who always had a crush on her and never stopped loving her in all those years. But he is in trouble because of another woman, and she has no idea who he is - how will she react once she'll find out?
The author is on blogger, too; you can find her here.
Something all four of these (free) ebooks have in common are the male characters: They are invariably dishy, with fabulous bodies and faces to match. Not so the ladies; at least two of the main characters are described as not being exactly skinny, and looking as tired and stressed out as you do if you juggle work, family responsibilities, money and other worries. I wonder whether that really is what women want to read? Well, I did read these stories, in spite of having some really good books (not ebooks) on my to-be-read pile, but I'd find them just a little more realistic if the people in them were a bit more like real people, especially the men.