Sunday, March 13, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: February 28th to March 12th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by making my long-suffering dog pose with everything I read, barring the comics I get as single issues.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

Not pictured: I read as much PRINCELESS as Scribd could give me, and it's every bit as wonderful as everyone says it is. Go forth and read it, unless you hate subversive fairy tales about black princess-knights who decide being locked in a tower is utter crap and they'd better ally themselves with their dragon and the next girl blacksmith they meet so's they can go rescue all their similarly-incarcerated sisters.

And I mean, who hates that?

I also read a smidgen more X-FACTOR because I'm missing contemporary(ish) Marvel.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands on a red leather chair, his face twisted slightly to one side and his front feet pointing outwards despite his firm stance. The fur on his head stands up at a 45 degree angle. Behind him, to either side, are hardcover copies of Wonder Woman Volumes 4 and 5. 4 features Wonder Woman striding out of a mouth rimmed in a snake-like red beard. 5 features her mounted on a black horse, sword raised.

I'm still enjoying Brian Azarello and Cliff Chiang's WONDER WOMAN very much. It doesn't look like it'll ever end up on my list of Ultimate Favourite Comics, but the characters are great, it does plenty of interesting things with mythology, and it's committed to letting its female characters interact on multiple levels even when the plot forces them to focus on male villains for a stretch. I'm sad I've almost finished their run, especially since I've heard the next creative team does some dodgy shit with the characters.

Still; no firm judgement until I've read it for myself. Maybe Finch and Finch recover quickly from the initial missteps I saw reported on all those DC Messed Up Again features.

An extremely fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, peeks out from behind a white Kobo with The Vengeful Half's cover on its screen. The cover features a greyscale image of a pale-skinned girl holding a brown-skinned boy while a red, feminine figure with abnormally long fingers looms over them, ready to snatch them up.

I've already reviewed THE VENGEFUL HALF in some detail, so in the interests of brevity I'll direct you there.

Oh, and I didn't manage to adequately stress the cuteness in my review, so be aware there're some seriously cute scenes alongside all the dark magic and body-theft. I'm still smiling over the scene where Anubis and Estra cheer Olivia up by offering her kale salad and the chance to hold a kitten.

Murchie dozes beneath a red comforter folded over to make a blanket cave for him. Beside him is a white Kobo with Goldenfire's cover on its screen. Stylized golden flames emerge from a black snapping hen pistol with brass fixtures.

I'll have an overlong review of A.F.E. Smith's GOLDENFIRE for you on Tuesday, so I'll also resist the urge to tl;dr about this one. Let's just say books like this are the reason I rarely abandon a series after a single volume.

Because I had a couple issues with DARKHAVEN, the first book in the series, but this one was awesome.

Midway through, I also realized the things I read during this two-week period marked a turning point for me. I've found great stuff this year, yeah, but it's been quite some time since I was excited about the act of reading. I've been looking at books in terms of how much time they're bound to suck up, rather than how hard they're gonna draw me in. Last week, I remembered what it's like to get well and truly caught up in a book and to hell with how long it takes.

I sure hope I can keep hold of that feeling.

Murchie, having received a shorter haircut that leaves him with longer hair on his ears and at the end of his muzzle, stands before two large piles of books with thick yellow spines. He wears a blue and white striped t-shirt.


Even though I've read a ton these last two weeks, I don't have much to show you today because so much of it was PRINCELESS (which, as previously stated, I read in issues) and SKIP BEAT. And I'm not about to make Murchie pose with every individual volume or omnibus. He'd rebel against me (ie, turn into a stroppy little shit and/or stare at me with betrayal in his eyes).

A full-series shot seemed the better option.

But yes. I'm rereading SKIP BEAT, the comic about which I previously wrote many thousands of words because I love it that frickin' much, and it's even better the second time through, and it's all I can do not to tweet things like *ugly crying over Kyoko Mogami's limitless perfection* twenty-three times a day.

It's also all I can do not to tl;dr at you right here and now. Please refer to the above linked review if you're up for that sort of thing. It has subheadings, and also a short, gushy, ungrammatical version for readers in a hurry.

Murchie peeks out from behind a white Kobo with the Scribd landing page for Slice of Cherry on its screen. The page features the book's cover--two stacked teapots with a splash of red dripping out of them--above buttons that read Start Reading and In Your Library.

Weirdathoners, take note: SLICE OF CHERRY by Dia Reeves is a prime candidate for your reading pool.

I read Reeves's debut novel, BLEEDING VIOLET (also a good Weirdathon pick), a few years back, but my library weeded out their copy of her second offering before I could get to it. Luckily, it's on Scribd.

It's also very dark, and very weird, and I almost gave up on it at the start of the second chapter because I ain't so much for prolonged torture scenes and characters I can't possibly empathize with. I stuck with it, though, because this novel of teenage serial killers in a Texas town filled with portals and monsters is strangely compelling. It's like someone twisted the very notion of morality twelve degrees to the left, not just where the murderous sisters are concerned but with everyone. It's fascinating to poke through, even when it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And it turns out I may not be able to emphathize with Fancy and Kit, but I can sure as hell engage with them on an intellectual level. Fancy's determined to view Kit's desires and personality as a perfect match for her own; something the text makes clear isn't actually true. It's a fascinating setup and I'm eager to see how it all comes together in the end.

Murchie's head pokes out of a red blanket cave. In front of him is a white Kobo with Liesmith's cover on its screen. The cover features a grayscale image of a young black man wearing a hooded cloak and brandishing a long spear.

Which I'll do once I finish Alis Franklin's LIESMITH.

This one was a totally random choice slash sorta-mistake. The sequel, STORMBRINGER, appeared in one of the daily deal emails I receive, and I clicked through to see what it was about partly because my own SF WIP used to be called STORMBRINGER and partly because it belonged to a series called The Wyrd and y'all know I'm all about Norse mythology. Soon as I learned it was a sequel, I took a peek at the first book in the series, decided it looked good, saw it was only $2.99, and added a sample to my library so I wouldn't forget about it.

I took a quick peek at said sample late on Thursday night, just to see what it was like. The next thing I knew, I'd bought the full book as well as STORMBRINGER (because one must take advantage of $0.99 sales) and backburnered everything else so I could wallow in it (oops?).

Which I hope I managed to do yesterday after a no-time-to-read-dammit day on Friday. Franklin's writing grabbed me like that, and I'm excited to see how the story plays out. I've also learned Franklin is an acquaintance of Elizabeth (who loved the book, and who I should have remembered loved it because she mentioned it during BBAW which was not that long ago), which makes for kind of a neat six degrees thing.

Next week: Ollie takes centre stage as he and I hang out in the country with some audiobooks and print novels and things.


  1. I need to train my dogs to be better about posing with books. They just....won't.

    1. It took Murchie ages to learn how to stay still enough for me to get a handful of halfway decent shots, and there are still times when he decides he simply won't have it.