Sunday, October 2, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: September 25th to October 1st

The premise: I make my beloved dog, Murchie, pose with every book I read. Sometimes the photos are clear and well-lit. Sometimes I'm in a time crunch and the composition leaves something to be desired. Murchie's pretty durned cute either way, though.

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: scads of X-Men comics, of course. I've begun rereading the first GAMBIT ongoing, since it's set at roughly the same time as the UNCANNY X-MEN and X-MEN comics I've been working through. I've also read a few more issues of X-MAN as they've come up in the chronology, and I'm awfully sorry Marvel Unlimited doesn't have more of them as I like Nate a lot. (Young superheroes are my jam.) Finally, I gulped down the MAGNETO REX miniseries and managed to not hate Quicksilver for a hot minute--until I remembered all the shit he's gonna pull over the next decade. Fuck Quicksilver, man.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, looms behind a white iPod with Hunted's cover on it. Murchie wears a blue and white striped t-shirt. The book's cover features a red-haired white man looking over his shoulder at an ominous, horned figure that lurks beneath a tree. The whole photo is a dark sepia tone.

Gotta love late-in-the-year lighting.

Gotta actually love finishing things. HUNTED [Amazon | Scribd Audio] concludes the reread portion of my Iron Druid Reread/Catch-Up. Only two new-to-me books to go!

(I thought there were three more, but apparently I was wrong. This is something of a relief, since it means I can fit some other stuff into my listening schedule a little more quickly and I won't have to wait so long to tackle the Oberon novella burning a hole in my Kobo. I was gonna dive into it right away, since Oberon is my favourite, but I decided it'd be best to hold off a teensy bit longer just in case of novel spoilers.)

One thing I keep forgetting to mention as I work my way through this series is that I love how many problems the characters face. Atticus, the protagonist, is extremely good at getting himself out of trouble--and extremely bad at getting himself out of trouble without causing a dozen more problems along the way. It keeps things interesting and ensures there are no easy outs for anyone involved. Somebody makes a mess, somebody's gotta fix the mess. No exceptions.

That said, this one fell into the same register as HEXED; ie, I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I did the first time. Oh well. I returned to this series in search of fun, magical stuff I wouldn't have to think too hard about, and that's what it's delivered. I'm satisfied.

Re: the audio, Granuaile becomes a POV character with this installment and I'm a tad disappointed they didn't hire a female performer to narrate her segments. Luke Daniels does as fine a job with her as with any of the other characters (the guy performs about a thousand different people, and he does it well), but one always wants to see female voice actors get more work.

Murchie, ears outstretched, lies beside a white Kobo with Just A Little Rain's cover on it. The cover features an impressionistic drawing of two Filipino people smiling at one another as they share an umbrella.

Jayen San Diego's JUST A LITTLE RAIN [Amazon | Scribd], my fourth1 Filipino romance novella, almost lost me with its first two chapters. Luckily, it hooked me with the third and was quite sweet from then on. It's a loose LES MISERABLES reimagining set in contemporary Manila, from Eponine's perspective, and you can tell San Diego both loves her subject matter and really dislikes the way Victor Hugo treated Eponine. The retelling angle delighted me, even though I wish the overall story had been a bit punchier.

Murchie curls up in a red blanket nest so only his head peeks out, one ear splayed atop the trade paperback copy of Central Station laid behind him. The book's cover features a monochromatic purple travel poster of a towering spaceport with two ships departing from it, glittery contrails in their wake.

I sat on my digital review copy of Lavie Tidhar's CENTRAL STATION [Amazon] for so long that I needed something to kick my arse into gear. Borrowing a finished copy from the library did the trick.

Well, sort of. CENTRAL STATION clocks in at under three hundred engaging pages, but it took me forever. Like, five days. Midway through, I realized this was because I was stuck firmly in one of those moods where I'd rather create than consume. I did my best to accept that, even though a crapload of stuff2 piled up while I made things and read this one teensy book.

Truly, I'm less annoyed than I might be, possibly because two of the things I finished creating last week were a rough draft of a novel and an outline for another. I got my required dose of story by making shit up for myself, and maybe I'll be able to read a bit more now I've put those two large projects aside to rest.

Anyways, CENTRAL STATION was great and I'll have a full review for you in the nearish future.

Murchie strikes a heroic pose behind a white iPod with the cover of Angels' Blood on it. The cover features a dark-skinned, silver-haired woman with a sword resting over her shoulder. She stands against a glowing yellow and orange background.

After years and years and years of listening to people, especially my mother, rave about Nalini Singh, I've finally taken the plunge with the first novel in her Guild Hunters series. I'm about a third of the way into ANGELS' BLOOD [Amazon | Scribd], and I'm already determined to make Singh my next big audio series project. She leaps straight into the action without sacrificing character, and her worldbuilding is smooth and organic. No awkward infodumps here, thanks; just complete immersion, with additional details introduced as they're relevant to the characters. I sank into it straight off and plan to binge on it today while I tackle some long-neglected tasks.

One off-putting downside: it's aggressively heterosexual. Lots of language that excludes the very possibility anyone might be attracted to people of their own gender, or to no one at all. Sigh. At least the heroine is beyond firm on what constitutes consent. I'm always thrilled to see those sorts of lines drawn in romance.

Murchie stares mournfully upwards as he stands beside a hardcover copy of Being Jazz. The book's cover features a photo of a happy, brown-skinned girl wearing denim shorts and a long-sleeved pink lace top.

YA nonfiction time! I started BEING JAZZ [Amazon | Scribd Audio] yesterday in the hopes a little nonfic will help me ease back into regular reading. I'm not very far in as I write this, but I look forward to following Jazz's journey as a trans girl who's lived much of her life in the public eye as an activist and YouTube celebrity.

Next week: THE OBELISK GATE, for real this time. (It's due back on Thursday, so I can't dawdle.) Maybe some non-X-Men comics, too? I dunno.

  1. Fourth that I've read in its entirety, that is. I bounced off two more before I settled on this one: an amnesia story where I couldn't click with the author's prose style, and a make-the-old-boyfriend-jealous story that was too repetitive for my tastes
  2. I got a little carried away at two different book sales last week, and a bunch of library holds that'd been in processing for aaaaaaaaages finally came in for me, and I've still gotta figure out how to spend my next three Scribd credits before I lose them.


  1. I hope Being Jazz helps get you back in a reading mood!

    1. I'm on track to finish it this evening, so it worked!

  2. I just have not gotten on with Nalini Singh, Memory! On paper it seems like her books should be right up my alley, and yet. Once you have done your big Nalini Singh readthrough, please report back to me about which of her books is the absolute best one. And then I will read that one. And see.

    1. Jenny, it is my sad duty to inform you ANGELS' BLOOD went from Terribly Exciting And Totally Up My Alley to Not What I Wanted To Read. I finished it because of how hard the opening hooked me, and because so many people love her books, but I didn't feel like the romance went beyond the physical and the mystery dragged on forever. Then the ending dragged on for EVEN LONGER.

      I'll at least start the second once since I already spent a Hoopla credit on it, but I've got a feeling my projected Nalini Singh binge won't happen.