It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."
Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.
I can hardly believe it's December already. It feels like summer was only yesterday, and now Christmas season is here. I'm caught in a time phenomenon where days pass very slowly, but weeks zip by. Before I know it, it will be April and I'll start preparing my VW mini-motorhome for my trip to Germany.
Plans for the trip itself are ongoing, although I am taking a short break from planning that trip and am instead getting ready to fly to Frankfurt with my mother to visit Christmas markets in Hessen and Baden-Württemberg later this week. We will be staying in Heidelberg. Last week the long-term weather forecast was for rain, but the forecast has changed and now it looks like it will be dry the whole time and we might even see some sun.
As for reading, I didn't finish any books worth mentioning in the week before last, so I didn't write up a report. Instead of reading as much as I usually do, I was busy working on some Christmas presents. One of them is a large, crocheted bedspread that is made up of granny hexagons that need to be crocheted together. It's about 3/4 done and I'll post a photo once it's finished.
The books I finished last week were mostly romances, with a couple of mysteries and a travel book thrown in for variety. This is a time of year when I'm at risk for depression, so I usually turn to the guaranteed happy endings provided by romance novels.
The non-romance books were:
- Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie, an audio book read by Hugh Fraser. First-time listen, but I have read it before.
- Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie, another audio book read by Hugh Fraser. I do not remember reading this book before. Fraser is a good reader, and does a creditable French accent for Poirot, but I have noticed that when he does other accents, they all sound vaguely Russian, which is very incongruous when the character he's speaking for is supposed to be South-African. On the other hand, he does outraged Englishness very well indeed.
- Campervan Crazy: Travels With My Bus by David and Cee Eccles, which is the book I chose as my prize for the money I won in October's prize drawing on The Book Date. Loved it! It's about the Volkswagen Transporter, mostly T1 and T2 camper conversions, and the people who love them. These vans have been everywhere and seem able to get to places where usually only 4WD vehicles would venture into. My own campervan is a new VW Caddy, but I get a glint in my eye whenever I see a classic Transporter on the road.
The romances were all Christmas-themed novellas and long short stories:
- Bluebird Winter by Linda Howard is a rather creepy contemporary romance novella in which a doctor comes to the rescue of a woman in labour, delivers the baby and coerces her into marrying him because, hey! insta-love!, all within 48 hours of meeting her for the first time. Cue misunderstandings and a "getting to know you" period which mostly seems to consist of her being told by everyone what a wonderful man he is. I found the story unsatisfactory due to the unconvincing way he fell in love with her and the aforesaid creepiness factor.
- When Love Flue In by Lillian Francis is a gay romance novella in which a rich businessman has been in love for several years, with the man who comes in once a year to clean his chimney, and finally gets the chance to get to know him better. I liked this one. The romance didn't feel rushed, as the characters had both been half in love with each other and only needed an opportunity to get to know each other in order to start a romance.
- Jesse's Christmas by R.J. Scott. I can't remember anything about this one, so it must have been pretty mediocre because I would remember if it was good or bad.
- The Christmas Throwaway by R.J. Scott. This one I did like. It's a sweet and slightly sappy Christmas story about a policeman who rescues a young man who has been driven out of his childhood home for being gay. They fall for each other, but the cop is very careful to keep things proper and fearful of being seen as a predator, so the story actually takes three Christmases to get to the coming together part of the romance.
Currently, I'm reading several books, but I don't expect I'll finish any, what with concentrating on finishing the bedspread and my long weekend in Heidelberg. I do plan on taking one - just one - book with me, but which one? Books to take travelling are always a difficult choice, but I'll probably pick a a book of short stories or essays, or my go-to in-flight read: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It's due for a re-read.