How to be both by Ali Smith

Amy How to be BothHow to be Both is a clever, strange, moving novel about art, life, death and love. There are two stories, one set in modern day, about a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, and the other about an Italian painter in the 1460s. The stories are linked, and full of surprises. There’s probably so much that I didn’t get, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Memories of May by Juliet Madison

Renee memories of mayMemories of May is the fifth book in the Tarrin’s Bay series but can be read as a stand alone. Olivia is a single mother who runs a bookstore previously owned by her grandmother, May. When Joel, the author of a popular memoir, comes to town to run a short writing course, Olivia decides to join it and write a memoir of her grandmother’s life. May’s memories of a long-ago romance unfold as Olivia steps outside her comfort zone and falls in love with Joel.
As a fellow book lover and writer, I found Olivia very relatable. The romance was a slow burn, friends to lovers. The story was sweet and emotionally engaging. I first met Olivia in the previous novel, April’s Glow, and was hoping to see more of her. I look forward to reading more in this series.

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The butterfly and the violin by Kristy Cambron

Hannah The buttterfly and the violinThe Butterfly and the Violin is a sad and gentle tale of two young lovers who were sent to the Nazi concentration camps, how they survived by a small thread of hope, how they were separated and found again, and how poignant and fragile the gift of life is. I was so deeply moved by this story that I purchased my own copy. If you wish for a book that will speak deeply to your heart, this I recommend!

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Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Amy RubyRuby is the story of a broken woman, run mad and ill used, and a man who finally steps out of his sister’s home, to love her. It’s set in an all black Texas town, full of righteous people and dark secrets. It is a love story, but it is very dark in places – black magic, horrific abuse and violence, told in lyrical language and ultimately hopeful.

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The look of love by Sarah Jio

Cynthia look of loveSarah Jio is a favourite author of mine, her stories traditionally have present and past stories that intertwine. The look of love takes a departure from her normal style and the story falls flat in some areas. Jane was given the talent of seeing love at her birth and just before her 30th birthday she has to identify the six types of love. These six types of love can be found in the people around her and they have some interesting relationships – not all happy together everlasting love. It was an enjoyable read but is my least favourite of Sarah’s novels. Try The violets of March or The last camellia.

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Ryders Ridge by Charlotte Nash

Cynthia Ryders RidgeThis book has all the elements I expect in this type of novel – a great Australian location, likeable characters, many misunderstandings and a bit of drama, with love winning out at the end. Daniella arrives in outback Queensland fleeing from her past and meets station heir Mark worrying about his future. There are enough clues in the story to work out what is going to happen, but did not distract me from wanting to read to the end and find out how the story finishes. An enjoyable rural romance.

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The book of love by Phillipa Fioretti

Cynthia Book of LoveThe story grabbed me at the beginning, lost me in the middle and then pulled me back in at the end. I think this was because of the nature the relationship between Lily and Robbie which is fully explored later in the novel and thus their actions and attitudes made more sense. A lot of the situations were unbelievable and I found the character of William a bit “clunky”. Not as much humour as promised on the cover but overall an enjoyable read.

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This rough magic

Amy This rough magicLucy Waring arrives at her sister’s glorious villa on sunny Corfu for a few weeks away from her failing acting career in London and gets a lot more than a tan. Mystery, murder, Shakespeare and romance on an historical Greek island with a sassy heroine and handsome men wherever you turn. I feel like I have had an adventurous beach holiday myself, This Rough Magic is so much fun.

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