Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick
In a future that was conceived in the 1960s, Mars is colonised and inhabited by flawed individuals who all seem balanced on the edge of insanity. A Union leader's desire to use an autistic boy to access time in unusual ways (primarily to make money) may not end in the way that he hopes.
Hmm. This was my first Philip K. Dick novel. I was impressed with the writing and how Austen-esque Dick's observations were. His characters are very much people of the time this book was written in, explored, expanded and explained. The way everything came together at the end was just masterful. But, not surprisingly, the outdated views on certain issues (sexism, racism, ableism, etc) hampered my enjoyment of the book. And Dick clearly didn't understand enough about autism or schizophrenia to be writing about them (although that might be because that's what was understood at the time).
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Lucie Churchill's sheltered life is shaken by an encounter with George Zao in Capri. She has spent years blissfully avoiding him - until he reappears in her life just after she becomes engaged to a man who could seemingly give her everything. A retelling of A Room with a View.
I was taken in right at the start by Kwan's usual masterful blending of travel romance and comedy of manners - which I expected, given his previous books. But then of course the plot kept going and I lost interest. I'll admit I've never read the book this is based on, so I don't know who to blame for Lucie being extremely unlikeable. She got really nasty at one point. And I didn't see any love between her and George. It felt like they were strangers to each other, even at the end.
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.