What I’m reading today II – Goodreads update

Alex Ankarr is 7% done with A Shadow on the Sun: Although it’s well-written I’m having trouble suspending disbelief due to the characters’ very ‘fantasy world-building’ names. It’s always a problem with made-up names, and I’m still at the point of finding them slightly risible. The story’s good so I’ll be able to shake that reaction off soon.

Honestly I’d be as happy if fantasy authors just called everyone Bill and Ted. Well, not the girls, maybe.


What I’m reading today – Goodreads update

Alex Ankarr is on page 112 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF: I’m more than halfway through ‘The Wind Over The World’, highly praised and lauded by seemingly every reviewer. Thus far I’m finding it depressing, turgid and ominous. But I suppose everything may be transformed by the ending, who knows?

A Perfect Bloom 22 – Alex Ankarr

a perfect bloom IMAGE

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A Perfect Bloom 22 – Alex Ankarr

And Cory can hear very well for himself, how unpleasantly bitter and negative he sounds with his diatribe. It’s not as if he likes it himself. But he’s had a couple of disagreeable pseudo-romantic experiences, in his past history. Any rich guy has. It tends to embitter you. Even Adam, who makes six figures a year as a consulting company lawyer, was, he suspects, not entirely… unaffected, or impartial, when it came to Cory’s inherited fortune. He thinks it helped, as far as their getting together in the first place was concerned. And then, Cory’s lack of deep and abiding interest in money for its own sake, as opposed to building up and protecting the company his family created, was maybe the death knell to their subdued squib of a romance.

And it’s not as if this looks good, on the surface, this thing with Sam. Maybe Cory’s just protecting himself, not getting his hopes up.

He expects the protest and mockery, from Linnet, to be immediate and derisive. She may not take him quite seriously, but she is a good friend, and often-times his greatest champion, a tough and protective supporter. Now, though, she’s just watching him, chewing on her lower lip, rocking back and forth on the stiletto heel of her shoe.

Cory is a bit offended by her lack of protest, actually. After a moment he risks a look upward at her – she has about an inch on him, in her highest heels. And she grins, because she’s caught him doing it. “Is that what you really think?” she asks, and then just leaves it at that. Which is pretty concise, for Linnet.

Cory is apparently too-visibly pondering an answer, because it provokes Linnet into a peal of laughter. “Or do you just want to tout it as a possibility, and then be talked out of it?” she asks, mercifully making his internal indecision explicit.

Cory nods, because she lets it hang, and isn’t going to let him get away with no response.

Linnet looks up at him with her face coyly down-turned, from up under lashes that are groomed and delicately lashed. “Want to know what I think? No frills, for real?” she asks.

“I suppose so,” Cory says doubtfully. Maybe it’s best to get it all in one go, both barrels at the one time. Even if he might need emergency medical treatment for wounded feelings and hurty emotions, afterwards.

Linnet nods, approves. “I think you don’t really think that,” she says, leaning up against the green-tinged toughened glass. “And nor do I. But I’ve got reasons. When I see someone come sniffing around here, around you – mister boss-man – I don’t mess about. I do my research. Even if I don’t think I really need to. (Never liked Adam, you remember that?) And you’ve been watching Sam, when you’ve had the chance. But I’ve been watching him watching you, when you haven’t spotted him. He’s been very careful at it. But not enough to get past me.”



© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.

Bachelor Auction Boss – Sweet Gay Romance!

Will doesn’t mind when his company HR officer, Elizabeth, ropes him into charity events. Well, to be quite accurate, he minds, but he knows better than to protest. But a bachelor auction? In a toga? With his PA Jon at the event? (The PA he kind of has a little crush on. A very little one. Shut up.) Oh well, it’s not as if Jon’s going to put in a bid for a date with Will. Is he? Is he?


Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich – Goodreads book review

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really love this book, although I’m not sure why considering just how depressing it is. I think perhaps just because of that. Ehrenreich truly tells it like it is, and there’s none of the sugarcoating of economic abuse and exploitation that you get with even supposedly impartial media like the BBC and UK liberal press these days. Also I’m into it just because I love memoir beyond any reasonable point and every detail of Ehrehreich’s wilfully grim and dispiriting experiences is fascinating to me.

There is a temptation, as a reader, to keep second-guessing her choices, and the choices of her more truly blue/pink collar colleagues. To think and hope, wishfully, deludedly, that given the same circumstances one would do better, would rise above somehow and bootstrap one’s way up. It’s perhaps the same ‘blame the victim’ mentality associated with rape, bullying or whistleblowers – it feels so much safer to convince yourself that the system works, the target slipped up and was at fault somehow, and it could never happen to you. But it ain’t so, bud.

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Image – DustinGinetz.Photography on Flickr, public domain.

‘The Little Grey Men’ by B.B. – Goodreads book review

The Little Grey MenThe Little Grey Men by B.B.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very gentle, sedate fantasy adventure, with just a few moments of high excitement. I give it four stars for the quality of the writing, although I usually like fantasy novels with more of the fantasy equivalent of car chases, explosions and alien invasions. The characterization is good enough that one does suffer along with the gnomes, lots of angst hoping for their safe journey and eventual reunion. If you invest the effort into really getting into the book then I think it pays off, although it might take a bit of doing.

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Image – Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr, public domain.

A Perfect Bloom 21 – Alex Ankarr

a perfect bloom IMAGE

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A Perfect Bloom 21 – Alex Ankarr

Linnet ambles over to him, arms folded, and she nods. “Right. Didn’t think so. He doesn’t strike me as the homicidal type,” she says.

“You’re assuming –” Cory begins, but Linnet interrupts him.

“Yeah, I’m assuming,” she says, her voice quite exasperated. “Seriously, who else is it going to be? And operating on that assumption – why don’t you look happier? If you’re not in fear of your life, then why aren’t you bounding up and down with glee, Cory-boy? I mean, you’ve been gazing at him worshipfully from afar for weeks, now…”

“Oh, give it a rest, missy,” Cory mutters, sulkily, toeing at the floor-level frame of the window. “I have not.”

And Linnet lets that one go, giving full credit to her – although Cory possibly wouldn’t pass a lie-detector test with it. She hasn’t let up altogether, though. “Well,” she says, and the way she won’t drop her gaze from him might as well be a prod right in his ribs, with how close up to him she’s standing. “However you like it. But I’d expect you to be happier than you are – now that we strongly suspect that the object of your alleged affections is setting about an epic, Regency-style courtship. Even I’m impressed with it. And I’m not easy to impress in the romantic arena, Cory. As we know. So why aren’t you impressed? Why aren’t you dancing with glee and all ready to get wooed and romanced, flushed and happy? Why do you look like a thundercloud just opened up over your head, boom, and you forgot your umbrella?”

Her tone is critical, now, and it isn’t helping. Cory puts his hand to his brow, where his headache is developing. He sighs. “Look, I…” he begins, and chews his mumbling lip over the false start. “Let’s say it is Sam. Well, that’s very nice. As far as it goes. I mean,” he says, voice suddenly, rapidly picking up sharpness and sarcasm, as he gets up a bit of velocity. “Isn’t it great? I’ve got a crush on an ex-con, who has probably noticed how pole-axed I was on our first meeting. And has done a back of the rolling papers packet calculation, and come up with a nice round figure for what it’d be worth, to get me in the bag. In the sack. Under the thumb and lovesick. However you want to put it.”



© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.