I spent last week being quite sick, which wasn't at all pleasant in a lot of ways I have no intention of describing now. You'll be pleased to hear ... Thankfully I'm on a variety of pills from the doctor for the next three weeks so hope to be fully up and running (as it were) fairly soon.
Anyway, whilst not sleeping or eating, I got through a heck of a lot of books and so here are brief reviews of the first few of these:
This is a sharp and very quirky literary novel which is very accessible indeed. The main character, Walter, is charming and honest, and I loved the shifting shadows of his family relationships as depicted in the story. There's a nice linking of art, collecting and emotional displacement, and the ending is both surprising and powerful.
I Love Capri by Belinda Jones (4 stars)
This is my first Belinda Jones book and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It's chick lit for grown-ups and great fun . It also deals with some very serious issues and uses a light touch to do so - which creates a nice sense of balance to the book. I enjoyed the changes Kim our heroine goes through, and the response she has to her life's challenges. I also liked the fact that it's not necessarily an obvious romance, and the ending is both powerful and realistic.
As an aside, I once met Belinda at a Writers' Conference many years back and she was an utter delight.
Amore and Amaretti by Victoria Cosford (4 stars)
I bought this book thinking it was a novel, but actually it's a biography of one woman's relationship with Italy, particularly its people and its food - and it's certainly a riveting read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is sensuous and full of passion, as well as being very visual. I could see the villages and trattorias, and smell the glorious food as I was reading, I'm sure. Highly recommended.
Don't You Want Me? by India Knight (3 stars)
I didn't enjoy this one as much as the front cover puffs told me I would, but it was a light fun read, nonetheless. Not as wicked or as funny as it's made out to be but the romance is quite pleasant - though the mystery of who Stella ends up with is really no mystery at all. I could see it from page 1. All in all, charmingly forgettable.
A Night on The Orient Express by Veronica Henry (5 stars)
This is a wonderful read, filled with excellent and loveable characters and held together beautifully by the Orient Express train journey. One of the best modern romances I've read in a long time. I enjoyed all the different stories in the novel, and the way they came together, but my particular favourites were the elegant and glamorous older couple Riley and Sylvie. They were just brilliant. Very highly recommended indeed.
As another aside, I must also admit that I once met Ms Henry at the Writers' Conference mentioned above, and she wasn't particularly pleasant to me or the people I was with at the time. Sad to say. Rather on the dismissive side of dismissive, I thought (and we weren't even asking her anything either!). Still, personality clashes aside, I have to admit she can write, hey ho.
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy