Sunday, December 4, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: November 27th to December 3rd

I make my dog (or one of his stand-ins) pose with everything I read, barring single issue comics. 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.

This week's Not Pictured selections include some XTREME X-MEN (which I'm reading to bring myself up to speed so I can follow this team into UNCANNY), MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR (cute, but not as mindblowing as I expected), PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT (sooooooooooooo much fun!), THE VISION (recognizably excellent, but not quite my brand of excellent), a goodly chunk of SEA OF SORROWS by Michelle West, the latest episode of TREMONTAINE, and a bunch more of KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS by Teju Cole.

An ereader lies very close to some red and gold holiday lights in an otherwise darkened room. It has the cover of Wrapped Together on its coloured screen. The cover features a photo of two dark-haired white men leaning together, laughing but not making eye contact, above a banner with the title and author on it.

Murchie got a well-deserved break from his posing duties last weekend as I settled in with WRAPPED TOGETHER [Amazon | Scribd], Annabeth Albert's latest Portland Heat novella. I sat in the near-dark with my Kobo and my lights, basking in the first holiday offering from one of my favourite romance authors.

I devoured the book in two sittings (it would've been one, but I got sucked into the National Dog Show midway through) and promptly spent a Scribd credit on Albert's first Portland Heat bundle so I could keep on wallowing in the series. I also drafted a mini review for you, but it soon edged up on 500 words so I'll give it its own post on Tuesday. Which, hey, is also when WRAPPED TOGETHER comes out! Look at that!

Murchie wears a pink and cream houndstooth sweater. He lies on a red blanket with his face close to the camera, and to a white Kobo with The Ravens of Falkenau on its screen. The sepia cover features overlapping sketches of a man on horseback and an angel.

THE RAVENS OF FALKENAU AND OTHER STORIES [Amazon | Scribd] probably isn't the best entry point to Jo Graham's Numinous World series, but damn is it ever worthwhile if you've already got two or three of the other books under your belt. It's a collection of stories from throughout history, right from the central character's early incarnations to the dawn of the twentieth century. (The Numinous World follows the same characters through a multitude of lifetimes.) The title story is the longest and the most traditionally short-story-formed, while many of the others are vignettes or extended meditations that're pretty durned cool if you already know these people but perhaps less enticing if you don't.

It made me want to charge on and finally finish the series, which I'm reading completely out of order because the setup supports it. I've still got BLACK SHIPS (book one) and THE GENERAL'S MISTRESS (book four) to go.

Murchie sprawls on a red blanket with his face close to the camera. Beside him is a white iPod with The Sun Is Also A Star on its screen. The book's cover features the title in white, outlined by thousands of criss-crossing strings in shades of blue, purple, pink, and yellow.

Future post spoiler: Jenny and I feature THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon [Amazon | Scribd Audio] in our next Shiny New Books YA Spotlight. This gave me the push I needed to spend a Scribd credit on the audio and dive in.

AND IT'S SO GOOD. The jacket copy led me to believe it was about two sensible teenagers who fall in love in a day even though they both think that sort of thing runs contrary to their nature. It's actually about one sensible teenager and one dreamer, and their opposing viewpoints contrast beautifully. I rooted for them every step of the way, and I teared up at the end.

I love that this isn't just their story, too. Yoon seeds the text with vignettes about the various people Natasha and Daniel encounter on their day of falling in love (and trying to avoid deportation, and attempting to make major life decisions). It's fabulous.

Nicola Yoon is on track to become one of my favourite YA contemporary authors. You can bet I'll pounce on whatever she comes out with next.

A white Kobo lies close to a Christmas tree adorned with multi-coloured lights and an ornament made of a tiny, yellow Beanie Baby dog wearing a Santa hat. On the Kobo's screen is the cover of Bundled Up, featuring two white men from behind. One has his arm across the other's shoulders.

Look! More Annabeth Albert! BUNDLED UP [Amazon | Scribd] collects the first three novellas: SERVED HOT, BAKED FRESH, and DELIVERED FAST, and I wanted to tear through them all soooooooooooooo bad.

So of course, I kept running up against obligations that stole my reading time. Blah.

Still, I enjoyed every moment I spent with these three novellas. Annabeth Albert is so, so good at taking the reader inside her characters' emotional lives while providing them with the sort of fully realized outer lives I eat straight from the jar. Her couples are always well suited, too, and the challenges they face give them the perfect opportunity to deepen their connection and forge true HEAs, rather than optimistic HFNs.

I also get a kick out of how this series focuses on small business owners (or people on the verge of buying into small businesses). There really is a romance series about everything.

Murchie rests his fuzzy cheek against a white iPod with the red cover of The Fishermen on its screen.

No sooner had I resolved to seek out more fiction from Africa than THE FISHERMEN by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma [Amazon] became available to me. Luckily, my obligations kept me from reading, not listening, so I was able to tear through it quick as ever I wished.

Which was pretty durned quick. Obioma tells the story of four brothers whose close bond shatters when the town prophet says one of them will kill the eldest. It's intense and more-ish, and it explores family within a cultural context I'm less familiar with.

I'll have finished it by the time you read this, and I'll look forward to Obioma's next offering.

Next week: probably more romance novels. Hopefully the Hamiltome.


  1. Since I am doing so well with Audible this month, I am back to hating Scribd audio. I am still listening to Everything, Everything and it is not even that long. ugh.

  2. I so heart Annabeth Albert. She's a treasure, and all her books make me feel warm and fuzzy. I should stockpile some romance novels for this upcoming month. I have part of a romance novels round-up written, and I just need at least one more before my round-up will be sufficiently robust for me to publish it. :p

    1. I'm currently reading a romance that's not by Annabeth Albert because I ran out of Portland Heat novellas, and I'm sure it's great but it's not the saaaaaaaaaaaaaame.