Posted in advance copy, arc review

100 word review

100 Word Review

Washington Black

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018

by Esi Edugyan

Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books

Serpent’s Tail

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I thought that I had posted a review for this book, but I can’t find it. So, I apologise if I am repeating myself.  This book is set in the time of slavery.  It centres around a young, slave, boy (Washington Black).  His story crosses paths with a young inventor.  Washington black is recruited as a guinea pig.  His job is to ride in his masters new traveling device.  But, Washington Black is no normal slave.  He is a brilliant painter. His master finds his talent.  From there this story takes us on a trip around the world.  It is an interesting look at a Black individual who rises through society and the racism that he endures on the way.  This book has a serious topic, but reads like an adventure novel. It is an easy read, and many will love it. But, for me, there was something lacking.  I liked the work. However. I didn’t become engrossed by the story or  the characters.

Posted in advance copy, arc

100 word review

One-Dimensional Queer

by Roderick

A. Ferguson

Polity

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. One Dimensional Queer is a history, and critique, of the queer movement.  Ferguson explored the changes in the Queer movement, taking it from its freewheeling birth to the business structure of the present day.  The author argued that the Queer movement has changed.  Ferguson argued that the movement was birthed by actors from various sectors of the Queer, LGBT+, community.  The author introduces; Trans individuals, drag queens, Black people, etc… who were at the heart of the early history of the movement.  Ferguson argues that the movements drive to become more compatible with capitalism and its attempts to become more ‘professional’ and Business-like has meant a focus on Gay, Cis, white, able bodied men.  These individuals are the new key actors in the movement.  They are the movements ambassadors and shapers. Ferguson argues that this has excluded many voices, has weakened the ‘queer rights’ movement and left the needs of many individuals unaddressed.  This is a powerful book that needs an audience.

Posted in advance copy, arc

Autism Is the Future

The Evolution of a Different Type of Intelligence

by Marlo Payne Thurman

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Autism is the Future is a blend of personal narrative, sociological study, medical analysis, and journalistic investigation. The author talks of his own experience of cognitive difference, discussing a brain injury acquired in his adult life.  In many ways, this book reminds me of the work of Juno Roche.  They both use sociological methods, i.e. the interview, to further their own journey of self-discovery.  Roche’s work is an attempt to understand, and reconfigure, their sexual identity and Payne Thurman’s is an attempt to understand his new identity as someone living with a Neurological difference.  To do this, Payne Thurman undertakes a series of interviews that discuss some of the features of Autism, asking how these enrich or hinder the interviewees’ lives. This book contains accounts of lives lived to the full and differences that both impede and empower.

Posted in advance copy

100 word review 3

The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality

The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality

From Ace to Ze

by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The title says it all.  This book is a list of words that we use when we talk about Gender and Sexuality.  It explores concepts utilised in; Queer studies academia, activism and lived experience.  I wouldn’t recommend reading it straight through.  Use it as a reference work.  As such, it is a useful addition to the Queer cannon. Keep it by your side when writing or reading Queer texts.

Posted in advance copy

100 word review 2

Confessions of a Bookseller

by Shaun Bythell

Profile Books

Biographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction (Adult)

This book wad given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Shaun Bythell owns an antiquarian bookshop, in Scotland’s book town, Wigtown.  This is Shaun’s account of running that shop. This humorous book looks at; the shop, the people who work for it, the people who shop there, and the community that surrounds the shop.  It is an exploration of a life lived surrounded by; books, beautiful scenery, and the eccentric individuals who love these things.  It looks at the pains and pleasures of running a bookshop. Above all, it is a painfully honest picture of the author’s life. 

Posted in advance copy, arc review, netgalley

Throwback Thursday

We are back in the realm of semi-forgotten arcs. (Please be aware that I received these books from the publisher in the hope of an honest review I will begin with the book that I didn’t finish. Messengers Who We Listen    To, Who We Don’t, And Why by Stephen Martin; Joseph Marks.  The title tells you what it is about. It’s about those people who get listened to and those who don’t, looking at the characteristics of both groups of individuals. There’s nothing ground-breaking about this book. If you’ve lived in the world, then you know many of these arguments.

Semicolon How a misunderstood punctuation mark can improve your writing, enrich your reading and even change your life by Cecelia Watson. I scan read this book.  The title makes you think that it’s about semicolons.  But, it’s more than that. It’s a history of grammar and a historic explanation of how people have understood grammar.  It outlines how the grammar rules, we have today, were born. The author continues to argue that the current rules of grammar are too rigid and confusing, concluding that these rules need to be redrawn and relaxed. The book is highly detailed and extremely interesting. However, the amount of detail stopped me from being fully engrossed in the book.

I really liked Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett.  Simone has recently left her old school after being forced to come out as HIV Positive. When we meet her, she is comfortable at her knew school. She has made friends and is directing a high school production of Rent. She has even met a cute boy and is considering a sexual relationship.  Then she begins to get letters and messages threatening to disclose her HIV status.  This book has a diverse group of characters. It explores issues that confront teens who are living with a HIV status. In addition, it shows a teenager coming of age in a complex world: confronting prejudice and finding allies. It is an engaging and fun read that deals with serious issues in a fun way.

Posted in #amreading, advance copy, Book review, Uncategorized

Odds and Ends. Wrap up

 

9781925228830

 

Margaret the First

Danielle Dutton

Scribe Books

 

The Descent of Man

Grayson Perry

Penguin

 

Please Note – Both books reviewed in this blog were kindly given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

So, we begin a new year.   It’s time to clear up the loose ends of 2016.  Then, I can move on to 2017. I will begin with my goals; I failed them all.  I planned an ambitious reading goal of 180 books. While I easily achieved this goal in 2015/16, last year I read only 119 books. In addition, I signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge (#awwc2016).  I only read one book from this challenge.  As for my read the awards challenge, as predicted, I started well but then my enthusiasm flagged.

 

So, am I going to set any goals for 2017?  Yes, I am gambling on a peaceful year and hoping that I can focus on my reading and writing.  So, I have set my Good Reads reading challenge at 120.   In addition, I have signed up to read 10 books that are over 400 pages long.   Once again, I have signed up for the AWWWC, setting my goal at 24 books.  As for awards, I plan to read along with a few but not as many as last year.  I think I’ll see what happens throughout the year.

 

Now for the reviews.

I must apologise for how long it has taken me to write these reviews.  I read these books before Christmas but, due to family and political traumas, didn’t feel like sitting down at my computer. I found it hard just to do basic work.   Firstly, I will begin with Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton.  This has a glorious cover and is a beautiful artefact.  The book takes on the story of the historic figure Margaret Cavendish.   Cavendish lived during an eventful period of English history.   She was part of Charles I court, before having to flee England at the end of the civil war.  This book outlines; her childhood, time in court, time in exile and her decision to begin her life as a writer. This experimentally written book explores what it was like to be a minor aristocrat during turbulent times.  It explores what it was like to be a woman during a period where men reigned. It is an exciting read

 

Secondly,  I  turn my attention to Greyson Perry’s the Descent of Man.  If Margaret the First looked at a woman in a man’s world, this book turns its attention to the male of the species. Using; their own experience, knowledge gained through conversations, and existing academic research, Perry explores how are current ideas of masculinity can be toxic to men.  This book would make an excellent introduction to the topics and issues surrounding masculinity and is written in an enjoyably accessible way.

 

Both books are well worth a read.  Both, look at different aspects of the gender divide.   Whether a female living in a man’s world or a man living in a man’s world, it comes to the same thing.   Both mem and women; cis and trans, must learn to navigate this toxic environment

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in advance copy, reviews

ReviewThe Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy
Sam Moggs
Quirk Books
UK Publication Date 12 May (E-book and Hard back)
This is an e-arc kindly given to me by the publisher, Via Netgalley, for an honest review

What’s this book about?

The title says it all. It is a Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy of Fandom. It takes the reader on a journey through the various locations of Fandom, exploring media franchises that include; Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight. The book examines the fandom that surrounds these media franchises; the language they use to express their fanship and the activities that arise from their fandom. It shows the various ways in which the Fan girl may engage and connect with the various fandoms. Sam Moggs gives a detailed exploration of physical sites of community such as; Comic shops, game shops, reading groups, courses and conventions. She explores; what happens in these arenas, what they offer, and how to find them. She then explores the virtual worlds of fandom. Moggs explores the variety of ways that fans connect online, including, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and other Fan forums. She explores what these various platforms offer and the etiquette involved when using these sites. Moggs then looks at the ways that fans creatively engage with the things they love, exploring cos play and fanfic. It, also, includes interviews with Famous fan girls, such as Erin Morgenstern

What’s so good/bad about this book?

This work acknowledges and celebrates the existence of Fangirls. It offers new Fangirls a guide to these wonderful fan communities. The section on fanfic is interesting and would offer great advice for any new writer, fanfic writer or otherwise. If I have a criticism, it concerns the works limited scope. It mainly focuses on mainstream media. It ignores the small media outlets and publishers. In addition, books don’t seem to get much of a look in. Even when looking at fandoms surrounding books, like Harry Potter, I feel that she gives greater attention to the films that they spawned than the books themselves.

Should I read these works?

If you’re a new fan this would be a great introduction to the world of fandom. If you know a young new Fangirl, then this would make a great gift. If you’re an older, more established Fangirl, then this could act as a refresher course on the new developments in our community. But, it is only an introduction and offers no in depth analysis. If you want to go further into an exploration of fandom, then check out the offerings of Mad Norwegian Frog media group, or podcasts such as; Doctor who, Verity or Galactic suburbia podcast. But, on the whole, this was a useful read,

The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy Sam Moggs Quirk Books UK Publication Date 12 May (E-book and Hard back)

Posted in advance copy

Posion waters Book extract- Blog tour – attempt two

Book-Cover-Poisoned-WatersPoisoned Waters is set in the 1950s on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. Helen Gardener is murdered during the voyage. The novel follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by the death of Helen Gardener. Was it merely an accident? Mr Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone.

Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen’s murderer?

This is the first chapter to, Poisoned Waters.

“I trust everyone. I just don’t trust the devil inside them.”
Troy Kennedy Martin

Chapter 1
Pearl Moon

26th August 1955
Friday Evening

The crystal chandelier of the Diamond Royale’s Grand Hall glistened, showering raindrops of light all over the room. American swing, fast gaining popularity in post-war Europe, filled the air with a festive atmosphere. Passengers aboard the luxury ship bound for New York swayed to the beat of a live band, as they sipped blood-red wine, and savoured the taste of lust on another’s fleshy lips. While most clustered together in fits of giggles and chuckles, Sylvia strayed to the side, with a cigarette between her fingers.

The smoke danced up towards the ceiling as if trying to escape from her crimson lips. The smell of nicotine was pungent and it seeped through the black satin gloves she wore. Sylvia didn’t know why she had bothered to come aboard this cruise; it was full of hot air and nothing more.

The Grand Hall was littered with generals, lords, ladies and other members of the elite. The men whose eyes danced in her direction blubbered with loose and deeply intoxicated smirks. The desire to butt out her cigarette against their pupils grew.

Out from the crowd, a robust man caught her eye. Within seconds, he advanced towards her. Sylvia averted her eyes and took a long drag on the cigarette.

“My sweet pearl, Sylvia,” The man leaned in towards her; his cheek felt like sandpaper and she could smell his abhorrent breath. “Dance with me.”

“Markus, liebling, I still need a drink.”

Sylvia excused herself, hoping her husband would stop bothering her. His thin lips caressed her neck and his thick fingers found her buttocks. She resisted the urge to burn him with the cigarette.

After he pawed her with squeezes, sloppy kisses and German pet names, Markus agreed to fetch drinks. Without avail, Sylvia walked in the opposite direction. She just wanted to escape from her demanding husband for a few minutes. Crossing to the other side of the ship, she flicked the butt away and pulled another out of the case she had nuzzled between her breasts. On edge, Sylvia’s fingertips trembled, struggling with the lighter as the brisk wind made it difficult to light her third cigarette of the night.

“Need help?” A hazy voice with a heavy accent asked from just over her shoulder. His accent was strikingly familiar.

“Ja, alstublieft.” Yes, please. Sylvia responded in Dutch.

The young man’s eyes lit up. He couldn’t have been older than twenty five, nearly two decades younger than her husband. She quickly scanned his fitted suit and steely grey eyes. Taking her cigarette and lighter, he lit her cigarette before handing it back to her.

Extending a hand in thanks, she was taken off guard when he raised her hand to his lips. He held her gaze for longer than necessary as he brushed his lips across the top of her hand.

“Can I help you?” she asked, unnerved.

“May I have this dance?” Before he waited for her reply, he had already pulled her close.

“I am a married woman,” Sylvia pulled her hand away, unsure about his intentions.

“Sylvia!” She barely heard Markus over the music. She twisted out of the young man’s touch to see Markus shoving his way through the crowd towards them, a glass of wine in each hand. The flash of anger she saw upon his face dissolved the moment he turned to the man before her.

“Ah, you have met my beautiful wife, Sylvia Wrinkler. Liebling, this is the new accountant I was telling you about, Mr Jacobus van Tiel.”

Sylvia stared at Jacobus under heavy black lashes. There was something in that man she didn’t like. Everything about his appearance was sharp, rigid and stern, similar to Markus but without the sagging stomach and jowls.

Markus handed her one of the glasses as he sipped from his own. When he lowered the glass, the wine left a dark red sheen on his top lip. Sylvia tried again to excuse herself, feeling uncomfortable. But her husband gripped her wrist and the diamond bracelet she wore bit into her skin like a row of teeth. Her escape thwarted, Sylvia stood still and forced a dazzling smile.

*

Benjamin held open the galley doors as he slid inside with an empty platter. Working as a waiter for the Phillips family, the sinfully wealthy hosts of the cruise, was less than an enjoyable experience. He needed money and this was the first job he was able to achieve that paid him a reasonable salary for the week the cruise lasted. The heat of the kitchen swept over him and he frowned.

“Those honkies don’t stop eating. They’re like pigs,” Mary growled underneath her breath as she passed him by.

Ever since they had met, she had stuck to him like a fly. They shared the same dark chocolate skin and childhood discrimination, but he didn’t share her fierce hatred for the people they were serving. Growing up in London during the 40s meant that he did bear the scars of racism. Many people of both colours had provided him good experiences and subsequently snatched him away from the all-consuming hatred. Colour didn’t matter to him but it did to Mary who spat on their food. That young woman who had barely reached twenty knew a lifetime of obscenities.

Benjamin followed what his mother had told him. He had to keep his head low and try to not attract attention. He had to be grateful for what others gave him and he was trying his best to keep his job, earning his pounds. While at times he felt like reporting Mary, he couldn’t. They were connected whether it be by colour or age or something greater.

Hurriedly arranging more servings of caviar, Benjamin heard someone calling his name. The barmen needed an extra and Benjamin begrudgingly agreed, hoping he wouldn’t lose his break. While he was serving wine, spirits, and beer he noticed the mass of people congealing together. Several men were gobbling their appetisers, licking their thick fingers, and grinning with oily lips.

Benjamin tried to stay as invisible as possible. He served the customers with a soft voice and shy nods. A man in his forties arrived at the bar demanding two glasses of their finest wine.

Without hesitation, Benjamin prepared the drinks, but as he put away the wine bottle it knocked over one of the glasses. The sound of smashing glass pierced Benjamin’s ears and he cringed with the expectation of a beating. The flustered barman came over, prepared the second glass, and took it over to the middle-aged man, who, in the midst of the loud band, hadn’t heard the accident.

“How long can it take?” the man groaned, his German accent clouded his words. “You’re all pathetic. I don’t know why they bothered hiring you people.”

The German man walked off, leaving no tip, but instead a twisted smirk. Benjamin’s heart fluttered. It wasn’t the middle-aged man who had caught his attention, but the woman he was advancing towards. His eyes lit up, the weight on his heart lessened and fleetingly he smiled. She was beautiful, her snow white skin glistened and honey-gold hair cascaded down her back. He wondered how sweet she would taste.

*

Harold massaged his aching fingers. His British companions shared clever puns over their glasses, chuckling. The occasional spray of saliva was also shared. Harold sipped from his own drink but had not achieved the level of drunkenness his colleagues were currently at. On top of having a high tolerance for alcohol, Harold always seemed to either give up paying for expensive drinks or was unable to stomach much more than a few glasses.

The friends spoke in barely coherent babbles of what was once the reputable English language. He had studied with them at the same stuffy university; business had been their chosen area before they all diverged into specific streams. Their current usage of language suggested they hadn’t even completed their high school education. The stench of cigarettes and alcohol was suffocating him.

Taking his turn to leave, Harold moved off into a different direction. His old colleagues had barely noticed him leave. The moment he had detached himself from them he felt much more relieved. The loud noise was deafening and rather than degrade his senses he drifted to the doors that would lead him outside. A young waitress with a stony expression took his glass.

The doors were opened for him by the young boys who stood by. Harold gave them respectful nods which they returned. The wind bit at his neck and shaven face while tousling his dark blonde hair. His emerald eyes were squinted in protection against the wind. Harold moved out onto the deck of the cruise ship and touched the railing. It was so cold that he retracted as if he had touched something hot. The chilling weather outside was causing him to shiver and shake. Was there a storm coming?

He was still young, merely thirty, and yet he was acting and feeling like he was eighty. Wasn’t that the age when you left parties early, lost interest in getting intoxicated, and your muscles ached? Wasn’t eighty the age when you were meant to be widowed?

Trying to restrain the burning tears streaking his eyes he looked over the side of the ship. It was difficult to do so, the floor was slippery. He caught a glimpse of the heaving black waters that the boat sailed upon. Harold turned around, resting his sore back against the railing, catching his breath. It was hard to breathe out in this weather and the penetrating winds were only growing stronger.

A shadow scattered across his vision. As soon as he raised his gaze, tears leaked from the red rims of his eyes. “Harold,” her familiar voice cooed.

“Be gone!” he yelled, shutting his lids tightly. These phantoms that haunted him showed no mercy. They sunk their teeth into his fleshy mind when Harold least expected it. The tender caresses of his wife brushed past his cheek. Harold’s hands aggressively pushed it away, only to encounter nothing but air.

Slam! He felt the cool floor smack hard against his tailbone. The floor polished with an icy sheet had been pulled out from under him. The pain that shot through his body expressed itself through miserable groans from his chattering lips. Harold let his body lull; the back of his head hit the ground. His eyes drifted to the brightly spotted sky.

The sound of pleasurable sighs and sloppy kisses broke the silent night. A couple who thought they were alone found somewhere to hide on the abandoned deck of the cruise ship. Giggles erupted from the woman. Husky groans echoed from the man. Rather than torturing himself further, Harold closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see their sublime experience. He wallowed in his own self-pity.­­

Heat from the love made by the couple did little to extinguish the cold that was penetrating Harold’s suit. When Harold raised his hand to the back of his head he felt something warm and sticky. Hushed moans continued to be heard, not far from him. It was hard to see in the darkness. Darkness was encroaching on his vision.

Before he had another moment to consider his actions, a shriek pierced the night air. The scream was not one heard in the middle of making love but one that burst through a woman’s lungs in fear and pain. Harold scrambled to his feet, trying to place the location of the scream. He knew it wasn’t from the couple he had been eavesdropping on. The sound came from a different direction.

The dark, gloomy deck of the ship tilted dangerously. Harold grasped onto the railing but felt his feet gave way. Harold stumbled toward the location of the scream that had sliced his mind like a knife. The back of his head throbbed. Why couldn’t he hear the sound of footsteps? Why weren’t there lights on?

“Help! She needs help!” Harold tried to yell but only managed to whisper. His vision blurred before everything went black.

– end excerpt –bannerblogtour copy

This post has been part of the Poisoned Waters Blog Tour. Poisoned Waters is a thrilling mystery set on a trans-Atlantic cruise where a murderer walks amongst passengers.

preview on Amazongoodreadsmark copy

Posted in advance copy, Ausralian women writers challenge 2013, Austrian women writers challenge

The blog tour. poisoned waters by Ermilia, book extract

Poisoned Waters is set in the 1950s on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. Helen Gardener is murdered during the voyage. The novel follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by the death of Helen Gardener. Was it merely an accident? Mr Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone.

Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen’s murderer?

The crystal chandelier of the Diamond Royale’s Grand Hall glistened, showering raindrops of light all over the room. American swing, fast gaining popularity in post-war Europe, filled the air with a festive atmosphere. Passengers aboard the luxury ship bound for New York swayed to the beat of a live band, as they sipped blood-red wine, and savoured the taste of lust on another’s fleshy lips. While most clustered together in fits of giggles and chuckles, Sylvia strayed to the side, with a cigarette between her fingers.

The smoke danced up towards the ceiling as if trying to escape from her crimson lips. The smell of nicotine was pungent and it seeped through the black satin gloves she wore. Sylvia didn’t know why she had bothered to come aboard this cruise; it was full of hot air and nothing more.

The Grand Hall was littered with generals, lords, ladies and other members of the elite. The men whose eyes danced in her direction blubbered with loose and deeply intoxicated smirks. The desire to butt out her cigarette against their pupils grew.

Out from the crowd, a robust man caught her eye. Within seconds, he advanced towards her. Sylvia averted her eyes and took a long drag on the cigarette.

“My sweet pearl, Sylvia,” The man leaned in towards her; his cheek felt like sandpaper and she could smell his abhorrent breath. “Dance with me.”

“Markus, <i>liebling</i>, I still need a drink.”

Sylvia excused herself, hoping her husband would stop bothering her. His thin lips caressed her neck and his thick fingers found her buttocks. She resisted the urge to burn him with the cigarette.

After he pawed her with squeezes, sloppy kisses and German pet names, Markus agreed to fetch drinks. Without avail, Sylvia walked in the opposite direction. She just wanted to escape from her demanding husband for a few minutes. Crossing to the other side of the ship, she flicked the butt away and pulled another out of the case she had nuzzled between her breasts. On edge, Sylvia’s fingertips trembled, struggling with the lighter as the brisk wind made it difficult to light her third cigarette of the night.

“Need help?” A hazy voice with a heavy accent asked from just over her shoulder. His accent was strikingly familiar.

Ja, alstublieft.” <i>Yes, please.</i> Sylvia responded in Dutch.

The young man’s eyes lit up. He couldn’t have been older than twenty five, nearly two decades younger than her husband. She quickly scanned his fitted suit and steely grey eyes. Taking her cigarette and lighter, he lit her cigarette before handing it back to her.

Extending a hand in thanks, she was taken off guard when he raised her hand to his lips. He held her gaze for longer than necessary as he brushed his lips across the top of her hand.

“Can I help you?” she asked, unnerved.

“May I have this dance?” Before he waited for her reply, he had already pulled her close.

“I am a married woman,” Sylvia pulled her hand away, unsure about his intentions.

“Sylvia!” She barely heard Markus over the music. She twisted out of the young man’s touch to see Markus shoving his way through the crowd towards them, a glass of wine in each hand. The flash of anger she saw upon his face dissolved the moment he turned to the man before her.

“Ah, you have met my beautiful wife, Sylvia Wrinkler. <i>Liebling</i>, this is the new accountant I was telling you about, Mr Jacobus van Tiel.”

Sylvia stared at Jacobus under heavy black lashes. There was something in that man she didn’t like. Everything about his appearance was sharp, rigid and stern, similar to Markus but without the sagging stomach and jowls.

Markus handed her one of the glasses as he sipped from his own. When he lowered the glass, the wine left a dark red sheen on his top lip. Sylvia tried again to excuse herself, feeling uncomfortable. But her husband gripped her wrist and the diamond bracelet she wore bit into her skin like a row of teeth. Her escape thwarted, Sylvia stood still and forced a dazzling smile.

<p align=”center”>*</p>

Benjamin held open the galley doors as he slid inside with an empty platter. Working as a waiter for the Phillips family, the sinfully wealthy hosts of the cruise, was less than an enjoyable experience. He needed money and this was the first job he was able to achieve that paid him a reasonable salary for the week the cruise lasted. The heat of the kitchen swept over him and he frowned.

“Those honkies don’t stop eating. They’re like pigs,” Mary growled underneath her breath as she passed him by.

Ever since they had met, she had stuck to him like a fly. They shared the same dark chocolate skin and childhood discrimination, but he didn’t share her fierce hatred for the people they were serving. Growing up in London during the 40s meant that he did bear the scars of racism. Many people of both colours had provided him good experiences and subsequently snatched him away from the all-consuming hatred. Colour didn’t matter to him but it did to Mary who spat on their food. That young woman who had barely reached twenty knew a lifetime of obscenities.

Benjamin followed what his mother had told him. He had to keep his head low and try to not attract attention. He had to be grateful for what others gave him and he was trying his best to keep his job, earning his pounds. While at times he felt like reporting Mary, he couldn’t. They were connected whether it be by colour or age or something greater.

Hurriedly arranging more servings of caviar, Benjamin heard someone calling his name. The barmen needed an extra and Benjamin begrudgingly agreed,