Sunday, December 28, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: December 21st to 27th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by making my poor, hard-done-by dog pose beside every book I read, barring the digital comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, these included the first volume of the new YOUNG AVENGERS series and some of Reginald Hudlin's BLACK PANTHER.

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 an extremely ugly rug patterned in yellow and brown. Beside him sits a white Kobo with The Just City's cover on its screen. The cover is black with a roundel featuring an indistinct painting.

I'm pleased to report Murchie has given the World's Ugliest Rug his seal of approval. It's apparently the place to sleep when your mum is curled up in her chair, reading the hell out of Jo Walton's forthcoming book.

I loved said forthcoming book (THE JUST CITY) and have a great many thoughts on it, as is only fitting for a novel about philosophy. I should have a review-like post for you on January 13th.

Murchie stands beside a Kobo with a red cover on its screen. The cover reads Five Golden Rings along the top and lists five authors' names below. Murchie lays on his back with his front paws windmilling in the air. In front of him sits a white Kobo with Tinsel My Heart's cover on the screen. The cover shows two white people kissing while wearing winter clothing.
Murchie lays on a fuzzy pillow, his head titled up to one side. In front of him sits my Kobo with A Christmas For Carrie on its screen. The cover depicts two white people gazing at one another while wearing winter clothing. Murchie sits before a wall hanging covered in gold stars. Beside him is my Kobo with Mine Under the Mistletoe on its screen. The cover depicts two white people kissing while wearing winter clothing.

I used to binge-read holiday romances every November and December, but I skipped 'em last year because I was so focused on reducing la TBR. This year, I figured I'd throw moderation out the window since a) I got la TBR down to fifty books (hurray!) and b) I wanted to get some more use out of my Scribd trial.

(Shameless plug: Scribd, a monthly subscription reading service, is pretty durned great. They have about a million things I want to read, including heaps of romances and a ton of SFF from publishers like Angry Robot, Open Road, and Samhain. I highly recommend you give it a go--and if you sign up with this handy-dandy link, you'll get a two-month free trial instead of the standard one-month free trial. I'll also get an extra free month, so we both win. /shameless plug.)

I started with FIVE GOLDEN RINGS, a collection of five historical novellas by Sophie Barnes, Karen Erikson, Rena Gregory, Sandra Jones, and Vivienne Lorret. This one wasn't from Scribd; I bought it ages ago and read the first two stories right away, then let the rest languish unread while I tried to destroy la TBR. I finished the last three during the countdown to Christmas 2014 and liked Rena Gregory's the best of the lot. All of them were enjoyable, but that was the only real stand-out.

From there, I dove into TINSEL MY HEART by Christi Barth, who's one of my favourite contemporary romance writers. This offering didn't disappoint. There was some oh-god-retire-this-fucking--toxic-trope early on (ask before you kiss people, dammit!!!!), but overall I loved the blend of theatre, friends-to-lovers, and holiday cheer.

As an added bonus, the characters went to my American sister's old high school. When I tweeted about it, she bought the book for the association factor.

Holiday Romance #5 was A CHRISTMAS FOR CARRIE by Alison Packard. Together with TINSEL MY HEART, it taught me I'm decidedly fond of stories where someone who hates Christmas hooks up with someone else who's all about the magic of the holiday season. More like this, please.

It also convinced me to seek out Alison Packard's other books. I'll take care of that before my Scribd trial ends.

My final holiday romance, greedily devoured on Christmas Eve, was MINE UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Kat Latham, in which an American girl with a deep love of Christmas ends up helping a British boy recapture the Christmas spirit he lost after a death in the family. It, too, made me want to read more of Latham's books. Looks like they're sports stories--my favourite.

(I don't watch sports, but I love things about sports. Everyone's so committed, and emotions run high, and I always end up bawling my fucking eyes out. And before you say it, yes I'm going to watch FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS next year. Y'all told me to, and I listened. Or I'm going to listen. Whichever.)

A pile of books, as detailed in the blurb below.

December 26th was a momentous day: my tiny and beloved boy turned ten. Ten. It seems like just yesterday, he was a three-month-old puppy who hid in the corner of the kitchen whenever anyone other than me came near him.

Oh, my heart.

Since it was his birthday and all, I didn't make him pose with FLIGHT OF MAGPIES by KJ Charles. Instead, I set it up alongside the bookish things I got for Christmas, including three books from my mother (CAGEBIRD by Karin Lowachee, which y'all saw already because she gave it to me early; THE PRICE OF BLOOD AND HONOR by Elizabeth Willey; and BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY by Helen Fielding), a used paperback I bought myself on a whim (A THOUSAND WORDS FOR STRANGER by Julie Czerneda), two gift cards from friends, a cookbook I bought with one of those gift cards (HESTON'S FANTASTICAL FEASTS), and my iPod, which represents the three-month Audible membership I got myself for Christmas.

(I saw a promo code on Twitter: HOLIDAY14 gets you three months of Audible for $1.95/month instead of the usual $14.95/month. I'm not sure if it's still active, but it's worth a shot if you like audiobooks.)

Anyways, I also bought myself FLIGHT OF MAGPIES for Christmas, and I started it on Friday evening, and I've only read the first four chapters as I write this on Saturday evening, and I want to go read moooooooorrrrrrreeeee of it. Except I've got a ton of other stuff to do before I settle in to read. Sigh.

In case you were wondering, I didn't just ignore books between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day evening; I read comics and some Michelle West stories I didn't photograph lest Murchie grow cross with me. The string of romance novels stretched him to his limit.

Murchie sprawls on a red blanket, his front legs stretched out before him. Near his paws is volume one of Death Note. Its cover is primarily black in tone with the illustration indistinct from this angle.

Poor Murchie was sick yesterday morning; one of those flus that lays a dog out but thankfully passes fairly quickly. I was loathe to leave him alone for more than a couple of minutes, so he and I curled up with the first volume of DEATH NOTE by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The series has been on my radar since Ana wrote about it way back in 2009, and you can bet I'll be reading the rest of it. This was a great opening.

Next week: probably a new audiobook. Maybe some romances. Perhaps something historical, as I seem to be in the throes of an historical craving.


  1. This reminds me that I never finished Death Note. I should restart it one of these days.

    I very much support your FNL plans :D And I can't wait for my Jo Walton pre-order to arrive in January.

    1. I'm so excited about FNL, and I'm eager to hear your thoughts on THE JUST CITY.

  2. Aw, happy birthday, Murchie. He looks like an adorable koala in that first picture, the little fluffy baby.

    1. You know, he DOES look like a koala! I always call him a living teddy bear, and I guess I now know what kind of a bear he is.

      Not that koalas are actually bears. They are far more vicious than one might expect, though, and that's Murchie to a tee.