What I’ve been reading – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m giving this five stars but that might be partly out of sentimentality. Reading as an adult, a lot of the things Anne has to say strike me as saccharine, verging on treacly. But it had such a hold on me as a kid that I’m powerless to mark it down.

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A Thoroughly Unprofessional Relationship – Wistful Pining Gay Romance!

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A Thoroughly Unprofessional Relationship by Alex Ankarr

Ben is a company CEO whose PA Alec left the company with no explanation a while back. Which would be fine, no hard feelings. Apart from his having been totally in love with the guy. So when he finds out Alec is working as an escort, he wants to know why. And that’s not all he wants…

Image – Henrique Pinto, public domain.

What I’ve been reading – Halloween In Space by Bealevon Nolan

Halloween in SpaceHalloween in Space by Bealevon Nolan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Halloween activities of the kids and their dads’ involvement was fun, and so was the involvement of the alien. (I felt a lot of sympathy for the alien, being dragged along by a bunch of hyped-up sugar-fuelled kids. No wonder it was apprehensive!) A fun light-hearted read.

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Correction Concierge – Spanking Hot Gay Romance!

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Correction Concierge by Alex Ankarr

Francis is a concierge at a plush five star hotel, well used to unusual and exotic requests from his highly demanding guests. So what if this handsome new guest’s requests include lollipops… and a cane?

Image – Chris Clogg on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cclogg/, public domain.

What I’ve been reading – A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Very Long Way From Anywhere ElseA Very Long Way From Anywhere Else by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful quiet little YA, with a lot packed into a few pages. Wasn’t there some writer who regarded ‘writing like bread and water’ as the highest praise? This is like that. It’s writing that’s like life, no more and no less, nothing done for effect and everything serving the story.

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What I’ve been reading – The Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

The Hampstead MysteryThe Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Slow, thinly characterized, dubious ‘psychological’ deductions, descriptions and motivations ascribed. Numerous patronizingly stereotypical portraits of working-class characters and women. Not genuinely awful, but not of the first rank and certainly very much of its time. One point five stars really.

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Love Thief – Gay Silver Fox Cat-Burglar Romance!

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Love Thief by Alex Ankarr

Lang is a career thief, a mature and sophisticated man of the world, and his work is perfect. His plans are immaculate, his execution is flawless. So how can one pretty teenage wiseass turning up in the middle of a burglary turn his world upside down? Is Lang’s heist at the Ingley family mansion going to involve more than he bargained for? James Ingley seems to think so…

Image – Last Hero on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/uwe_schubert/ under a Creative Commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.

What I’ve been reading – ‘Art & Soul, Reloaded’ by Pam Grout

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image – Matt https://www.flickr.com/photos/berger787/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ no changes

Yes, yes, I’ve only just begun working through the projects – but I actually finished reading the book itself a little while ago.  And I think it says something, that I had such a good time with it that I decided to actually put it to work and do the weekly projects.  Right?  How often does a book actually inspire you to action, including ones that are designed specifically for that purpose?

I have a print copy of the book (and it’s a lovely object, well-designed.)  It’s structured on a weekly basis for a full  year.  Each chapter has an essay linked to the main project assigned for the week.  Then there’s the ‘Zumba for the Soul’ section per week, three more random activities/tasks/suggestions.  And an inspirational quote/biographical tidbit to sign off.

I think – and Ms. Grout herself notes – that it would be easy to read the book purely as inspiration, to feel good and get lit up with enthusiasm and then…  move on and forget about it.  That would be a shame, though.  I forget who I’m quoting when I invoke the law of precession – Buckminster Fuller?  Things happen, when you take action.  Things you couldn’t have predicted.  Many more than you would have expected, all flowing from your original act like a fountainhead.

But it was pretty probably Goethe who said something about action having ‘genius, power and magic in it’, and how therefore actually getting off your arse and doin’ it – whatever magic act of creativity you  have in mind – was probably the best thing.

The results you get in life – good, bad, indifferent, astounding – depend on how much you engage.  Engage 10%, get 10% results – i.e. results that you’ve actually brought into being as a result of your interaction.  Engage 90%, get 90% results.  If you don’t engage – get out there, interact, create, ask, try – then you’re not getting results at all.  You’re just a null object, having no effect on reality whatsoever.  You’re a bit of flotsam, along for the ride.  You might as well not exist.

Lemme quote Taylor Parkes: ‘Activity is king’.

What would happen if you engaged 100%?  I’d like to find out, personally.

This book is terrific. But the results if you follow its prescription, if you treat it less like a pretty recipe book, and more like the actual contents of your food cupboards that you’re gonna cook and eat – could be truly astonishing.

What I’ve been reading – The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

The Silver Metal Lover (Silver Metal Lover, #1)The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ah, this is the best, it’s the best. It’s the deepest, the sweetest, it’s the saddest. What else can compare? Nuttin’, I’m tellin’ ya, nuttin’. No-one is ideal and perfect, here, not even the robot who was constructed to be that way. And that’s good, because beauty and love are incompatible with perfection.

If you don’t cry a little, you probably don’t have a soul. But your robot might.

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What I’ve been reading – Outtake from ‘Night Broken’ by Patricia Briggs

This is another outtake, included in the short story collection ‘Shifting Shadows’ by Patricia Briggs.  This one is from ‘Night Broken’ which is not a hot favourite of mine.  It’s the book where Mercy and Adam’s relationship – at least for the reader, or at least for me – started to slow down and become repetitive, a little stagnant.

(Their mutual adoration society is getting a little cloying.  I’d love to read them having an actual row, sometime.   I mean, a proper row, about taking out the trash or who drank three-quarters of the bottle, you dipso pig. 

Not, “Oh, Adam,” *breathy voice, maidenly hand to forehead* “it’s so claustrophobic when you adore and protect me all the time!” 

“Oh, Mercy, damn you woman, must you be so wild and free and recklessly brave, it makes me insanely aggravated with desire!”  /Adam chews a countertop into kibble with frantic unhinged devotion)

But the outtake is rather cute, and maybe it would have improved the book if it had been included.

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image – Erin Perry https://www.flickr.com/photos/pips/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ no changes

Of course, it could just be cute because it includes both Coyote – Mercy’s supernatural ‘Daddy’ – and the walking stick.  These are two of my favourite supporting characters in the Mercyverse.  They’re both fun and daft and frivolous, and make everything they feature in fun.

It’s not difficult to tell that Briggs is a pantster, as far as writing goes.  This outtake contains a one-line plot-hole explanation, subsequent to the entire action.  (Something regarding Coyote’s role, you’ll have to read it if you want to know what.)  And it’s not the first one I’ve come across from Briggs, or the second, or even the third, I think.

That isn’t exactly a criticism.  Tight plotting isn’t my own strength, either.  OTOH, I’m not making big bucks on the bestseller lists.  So I feel pretty much free to jump up and down, shout “YOWZA!”, and run around just writing whatever seems like fun.  Having a good time, in short, doing whatever I feel.

Ms Briggs, however, has fans who’ll shell out for a pricey hardback, sight unseen, on the basis of having followed the series for yonks.  When all they know about it is the title.  I mean me.  I mean, like me.  I do that, on the regular.

I think a little extra care, an outline here and there, wouldn’t be unreasonable.