Sunday, November 30, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: November 23rd to 29th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that included a bunch of Infinity-related stuff, along with the beginning of Infinity itself. Catching up on crossover events has proved a great way to discover new characters and series.

I'm also so, so grateful it gave me an excuse to read the new NOVA, which is a ton of fun. It's oddly gratifying, too, to see so many people in the letters page say they were scared to try the book because they loved Richard Rider so much, but they're mighty glad they did. Me, too, letters page denizens. Me, too.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a bright orange pillow. In front of him sits a white Kobo with Under Nameless Stars's cover on its screen. The cover depicts a pale-skinned, leather-clad girl seated before a window onto purple-tinged space.

I began the week with Christian Schoon's UNDER NAMELESS STARS, a YA novel I really ought to have read months upon months ago. As things currently stand, it's simply been too long since I read the book's predecessor, ZENN SCARLETT. I read the first 24% before I reluctantly decided to put it aside for the time being. I'll try again when I have the time to reread the first book before I approach this one.

Murchie sits on a wicker chair with snowman pillows and a lit Christmas tree in the background. A paperback copy of Cast in Secret leans against the chair's arm. Its cover depicts a pale-skinned, leather-clad woman crouching between two large, purple statues of humanoids.

I've been on an SF kick ever since I finished WARCHILD, but last Monday I decided it was time to head back into fantasy for a while. To that end, I grabbed Michelle Sagara's CAST IN SECRET off la TBR and made Murchie pose with it beside my Christmas tree.

What? You don't put your Christmas tree up on November 24th?

Yeah, okay, it was a bit early, but winter is a difficult season for me and I needed something nice in my life. My Christmas tree is by far my favourite thing about winter, so up it went.

CAST IN SECRET is the third volume in the Chronicles of Elantra, a secondary world urban fantasy series I like but am not passionate about. It's also the last of the books I actually own, so I imagine it'll be a little while before I get to the fourth book, CAST IN FURY. I'm much more drawn to the author's books as Michelle West, which are epic fantasy, and would rather spend my time with those ones, even though they take me for bloody ever to read. They're rich and intricate, and they carry the promise of more Jewel Markess aTerafin. I love Jewel ever so much.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy white pillow. Before him sits a white Kobo with the cover of The Fallen Queen on its screen. The cover depicts a pale-skinned blonde woman in a ball gown, her arms outstretched. Behind her rise two arcs of water. She's lit in shades of red and purple with a background of dark blue.

Full disclosure: my copy of THE FALLEN QUEEN by Jane Kindred is one of those e-books that displays its cover art as a thumbnail within my library but doesn't contain the image in the file itself, so I found it on the author's website. I have the first edition with the original cover, so this one is much nicer anyways, even if it does adhere to the girls-in-impractical-ballgowns trope.

I decided to prioritize reading this week in an attempt to recharge my creative batteries. That made it the perfect time to tackle that Jane Kindred reread/catch-up I've been meaning to do for months. I dove headfirst into THE FALLEN QUEEN and was shocked--shocked, I tell you--to discover it's a retelling of 'The Snow Queen' as well as a riff off Russian history.

Remember how I love 'Snow Queen' retellings but never recognize them until later? Yeah. Behold that rule in action.

I have this half-formed sense I'll re-review THE FALLEN QUEEN in the near future, but if I never get around to it please be aware I loved even more the second time through. Maybe that was because I kept an eye out for the fairy tale and maybe it was just because it's awesome. Y'all should seek it out.

Murchie lays on his fuzzy pillow with a white Kobo in front of him. Its screen shows the cover of The Midnight Court, which depicts same woman twisted now towards the left side of the screen. The colour palette is the same, yet more muted.

Same deal with the cover for THE MIDNIGHT COURT, book two in Kindred's House of Arkhangel'sk trilogy and the final step on the reread portion of my reread/catch-up.

Okay, so it wasn't much of a reread. I should've called it a Jane Kindred binge instead.

This one didn't hit me quite as hard as it did the first time, but it was still great. I love Kindred's characters so much, y'all. Especially Belphagor. My reread has put me firmly on Team Belphagor.

Murchie nestles into a nest made of a red and white fleece blanket. Before him sits a white iPod with Blue Lily, Lily Blue's cover on its screen. The cover shows a blue-tinged girl in profile. Her hair is short and wild, and indistinct images whirl around her face.

Audiobook break! I was so frustrated with my listening pace for THE DREAM THIEVES that I invented a whole bunch of hands-on tasks just so I'd have a chance to finish it. Then I sat in the glow of my tree and felt things for a little while before I downloaded BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE from Hoopla.

(As a side note, my library still hasn't processed the paper copy. Sigh. Thank goodness for their Hoopla subscription.)

I'm about a third of the way through and hope to carve out at least one more hour of listening time today. Given the size of my Sunday to-do list, that shouldn't be a problem.

Murchie lays on a solid red blanket, his paws crossed in front of him. Beside him sits a white Kobo with The Armies of Heaven's cover art on it screen. The cover depicts the same woman blowing something off her upraised palm. The colour scheme is once again similar but more muted.

My copy of THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN does have the cover art right in the file, but I decided to go with the author's website option here, too, because it's just so much prettier than the original version. Glowy things bring me joy. Besides, I figure you're more likely to encounter this edition out in the wild, and I want you to be able to recognize it.

I made the mistake of starting THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN yesterday morning, right before I headed off to table at a craft sale, and I spent the whole day wishing I could get back to it. I'm in the same mindset now, so let's just say I'm loving the book, and I'm so worried about everyone, and I'm gonna throw myself back into it as soon as I finalize this post.

Enormous to-do list? What enormous to-do list?

Next week: more Jane Kindred! I've been saving her Demons of Elysium series since May, which actually worked out pretty well for me because it's now complete and I can read the whole thing in one go. Score! I might dip into some Michael Chabon, too, and I hope to start another audiobook.


  1. Blue Lily Lily Blue, oh what a wonderful book, oh how you will love it. I want to hug it.

    No judgment about getting your tree early! As much as I love Christmas, a tree is not one of my indulgences, but I have sympathy for anyone who wants to start the Christmas festivities as soon as possible.

    1. I want to hug it, too. I have about four hours left, which will be less than that since I listen at 1.5x (Hoopla doesn't have double time, which is its only downside), so I reallyreallyreally hope I can finish it by Tuesday or Wednesday.

      I imagine I'll spend Wednesday or Thursday feeling a lot of things.