First up, Recipe for Love by Katie Fforde.
Zoe Harper has won a place on a TV cookery competition, one specialising in baking, (similar I suppose to The Great British Bake Off). On her way to the country house where the competition is to be held Zoe comes across Gideon Irving who has put his car into a ditch. She realises he's a judge for the competition but somehow can't help falling for him over the next few weeks. It's against the rules of course, how can he not be biased if he's involved with a competitor? Zoe's room mate is Cher who is determined to win at all costs. Zoe needs to keep her involvement with Gideon a secret from Zoe, while still concentrating on winning the competition, *and* trying to help out the pregnant couple who own the country house. Could things possibly be more complicated?
Not my favourite, Katie Fforde by any means. I found the idea that a competitor would knowingly jeopardise her position in a cookery competition, a bit far-fetched. And really... no matter how you look at it... it *is* cheating. I don't mind suspending disbelief when reading a romance but this was just plain silly. That said, it got a bit better towards the end and I was glad I'd persevered. Other Katie Ffordes have been much better than this.
Next, Point of Knives by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnet.
A father and son, suspected of being 'summer-sailors', ie: pirates, are both murdered on the same night and Philip Eslingen is found standing over them. Philip helped Nicholas Rathe solve the mysterious disappearance of over eighty children in Point of Hopes and the two became romantically involved. They then split up when their respective bosses ordered them to because of conflict of interest. Eslingen's innocence is easy to prove but there still remains the question of the two dead men. Philip and Nico join forces once again so solve the murders.
I like this series a lot. Point of Knives is actually a novella sandwiched between the first book, Point of Hopes and book two, Point of Dreams. It's unusual for a fantasy series to focus on a same sex relationship but it makes a refreshing change. This is not an explicit book but the romantic aspect does come more to the fore than in the first book. I enjoyed it very much and liked that aspect of it more than the murder mystery, though that was good as well. I'm now looking forward to reading Point of Dreams early in the New Year.
Next, Once Upon a Christmas by Sarah Morgan. This in my book 35 for Bev's Mount TBR challenge.
Seven year old Lizzie has written to Santa to request a daddy for Christmas. Her mother, Bryony, is dismayed. She's been in love with Jack, a best friend to her two brothers, for most of her life. Jack treats her like a little sister and will never love her in the way she wants, so it seems she will have to start dating. But Jack's reaction to this is unexpected. He interferes, puts obstacles in her way, is a confounded nuisance in fact, until Bryony is at her wit's end. How will she ever find a dad for Lizzie if Jack continues to behave in this manner?
The answer of course is pretty obvious, as it should be with a Mills and Boon romance. LOL! I won this in a book draw last year and saved it for this Christmas. It's actually two books in one. Part one tells Bryony and Jack's story, part two tells the story of Helen, Bryony's best friend from London, who comes to stay in The Lake District after her fiance runs off with another woman, just weeks before the wedding. I have to say I enjoyed both books quite a lot. The reason for this is that the setting of a snowy Christmas/winter in The Lake District is absolutely delightful. The author clearly knows the area well and also knows about the work of NHS doctors and nurses and especially those who volunteer for mountain rescue work. I found it fascinating to be honest and the romance added a nice touch even though you'd have to be pretty stupid not to know who is going to end up with whom. A perfect read for the time of year.
So that's me caught up. Hope everyone reading this has a very Happy Christmas.