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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.