Sunday, December 21, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: December 14th to 20th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by asking wee Murchie to pose with everything I read, barring the stuff I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that was the last few available issues of the new NOVA, the end of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, and some stuff about Black Widow and Spider-Woman.

Speaking of which: how great is Jessica Drew? Pretty great, right? I totally want to be BFFs with her and Carol Danvers.

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 a fuzzy greyish pillow with a grey book beside him. Only its title, The Copper Crown, is visible in the picture.

Talk about a grey photo. Grey dog; grey(ish) pillow; grey book. How terribly fitting for winter.

Last Sunday I found myself in Indecisive Reader Mode. Did I want fantasy? Science fiction? Crime fiction? General fiction? I hadn't a bloody clue, so I snatched up THE COPPER CROWN by Patrician Kennealy since I knew it blended at least two genres.

On paper, it was totally my thing: science fiction in which Keltic civilization--which has flourished in space for the last three thousand years, having departed Earth to could escape the death of magic--comes back into contact with Terran diplomats even as they face threats from two galactic empires. And when I just think of what I read, I'm so there.

When I actually pick up the book and read a bit of it... not so much.

I dunno, y'all. Kennealy's prose is lovely, but her characters just didn't move me the way I wanted them to. They did these big, seemingly interesting things, and I just didn't feel it. Not a bit. They were like the literary equivalent of Duncan Kane.

(The hell, Duncan Kane? You're involved in so many crazy-ass things, and yet you yourself are so boring. How is this possible? What foul magic is at work?)

So I put the book aside just after the hundred page mark. Maybe I'll try again someday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Cover art for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, featuring the green- and blue-toned silhouette of a girl surrounded by flowers and vines.
So, Jenny was all, “When are you going to write about BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE???” And I was like, “I dunno, dude. I just haven’t felt like writing about books lately.”

I blame winter. Winter sucks the joy out of everything.

Not out of BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE, though. BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE gave me much joy and a fair measure of heartache, and I really do want to share that experience with y’all. I just... don’t have a review in me.

I do have some generalized rambling in me, though, so this is me making a list of stuff I thought about while I devoured the book. Said book is the third in a series and so arbitrarily exempt from the need for a summary, but if you’re new to the Raven Cycle and want to know what the whole thing is about, I suggest you peruse my (sort of a proper) review of THE RAVEN BOYS.

Okay. List.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: December 7th to 13th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by making my long-suffering dog pose with every book I read, barring the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that included a pinch of Doctor Strange and a further foray into Kelly Sue Deconnick's work via OSBORN.

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 a bright orange pillow. At an angle in front of him sits One Weird Trick, a comics trade collection with a blurred image of two pale-skinned people kissing on its cover.

If you've ever asked me for comics recs, I've told you to read HAWKEYE. It's my favourite current superhero title, not only because it features Kate Bishop (light of my heart; breath in my lungs) but because the writing is really fucking awesome. Matt Fraction plays fast and loose with timelines, and he's horribly good at dialogue.

I wanted more of this glorious package, so I asked my library to send me ONE WEIRD TRICK, the first volume of Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's Sex Criminals. And my friends, it was a solid move. Sex Criminals is just as nonlinear and clever as HAWKEYE, with bonus orgasms and fabulous art by Zdarsky. I can't wait for my library to get the next volume through processing.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Burndive by Karin Lowachee

Cover art for Burndive, featuring a blonde boy of Asian descent. He wears a white silk suit and occupies a prison cell, arms crossed and one foot raised onto the seat beside him.
I couldn’t read another book after WARCHILD. I just couldn’t. I futzed around for a couple of days, poking at comics and short fiction as I waited for a chance to visit my local used bookstore in search of more by Karin Lowachee.

Thankfully, BURNDIVE was waiting for me. I don’t even know what I’d have done otherwise. Probably moped around for the next few months, disconsolate and inclined towards long, loud complaints about the state of the world.

I get a touch dramatic about fiction.

BURNDIVE is a very different book from WARCHILD, so I worked hard to temper my expectations (which were all tangled up anyways, since I’m the kind of reader who always fears any and all follow-ups to a beloved book.) It took me about a hundred pages to get used to the different approach and the wildly different main character, but once I settled in I was hooked but good.

This second volume relocates the action to Austro Station, where Ryan Azarcon lives the privileged life of a rich university dropout. He’s got his drugs when he can sneak them past his bodyguard, his parties when his mother lets him out of the apartment, and no responsibilities to speak of. In the absence of any better activity, he spends his days playing his guitar and trying to escape the shadow of the terrorist attack he witnessed during his last months on Earth.

His shiftless life becomes anything but when major news comes in from the far reaches of space: his father, captain of the warship Macdedon, is in peace talks with the aliens against whom he’s waged war for as long as Ryan can remember. And the fallout lands squarely at Ryan’s feet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: November 30th to December 6th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by making my dog pose beside every book I read, barring the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that was the end of Infinity.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands before a lit Christmas tree and a white Kobo with the cover of Prince of Tricks on its screen. The red-tinged cover depicts a pale-skinned, shirtless man stretching with his hands behind his head. Onion domes are visible in the background.

Oy; the trouble I went to to get this picture. Murchie, bless his little heart, wanted to press his head against the pillow and dig his way to China. I wanted him to face the camera at an attractive angle to my Kobo. A battle of wills ensued.

I won, obviously, but it was a near thing.

Anyways, I continued my long-awaited Jane Kindred binge with PRINCE OF TRICKS, the first book in her Demons of Elysium series. It's a prequel set around twenty years before the House of Arkhangel'sk books (see: last week), and as such is a smaller story with smaller stakes. Some biggish political things happen, but since it's a prequel we know they're not really going to stick. Mostly, the book is about how Belphagor and Vasily fit together as a couple.

Sex is a huge part of that, of course. PRINCE OF TRICKS is unabashedly erotica.

It didn't hit me as hard as any of the books in the previous series, but I still enjoyed it very much. It's always fun to see more of characters one loves, and to watch an author expand her world in a different direction.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: November 23rd to 29th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that included a bunch of Infinity-related stuff, along with the beginning of Infinity itself. Catching up on crossover events has proved a great way to discover new characters and series.

I'm also so, so grateful it gave me an excuse to read the new NOVA, which is a ton of fun. It's oddly gratifying, too, to see so many people in the letters page say they were scared to try the book because they loved Richard Rider so much, but they're mighty glad they did. Me, too, letters page denizens. Me, too.

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 a bright orange pillow. In front of him sits a white Kobo with Under Nameless Stars's cover on its screen. The cover depicts a pale-skinned, leather-clad girl seated before a window onto purple-tinged space.

I began the week with Christian Schoon's UNDER NAMELESS STARS, a YA novel I really ought to have read months upon months ago. As things currently stand, it's simply been too long since I read the book's predecessor, ZENN SCARLETT. I read the first 24% before I reluctantly decided to put it aside for the time being. I'll try again when I have the time to reread the first book before I approach this one.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: The King by Tiffany Reisz

Cover art for The King, featuring a pale-skinned woman's naked back tinged in blue. She lays on her left side.
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Listen, I know how y'all look at series reviews. I say, "THE KING is the sixth book in Tiffany Reisz’s fabulous Original Sinners series," and you decide to read some other post on some other blog because you figure this one ain't relevant to your interests. I'll either yammer on about characters you don't care about or I'll spoil the rest of the series for you. Right?

Not so much. While THE KING is the sixth book overall, it's the second chronicle of the White Years; that is, the period in the early- to mid-90s when the Sinners came together and began sinning in sync instead of all by their lonesomes. It's not a standalone prequel--the framing story contains some spoilers, and you'll get the most out of the core story if you've already read the first five books--but it's the sort of thing a body can review without spoiling the rest of the series, even as she (hopefully) gives some sense of whether the newbies among you want to rush out and get THE SIREN.

(You do want to rush out and get THE SIREN. It's awesome, and it leads into even more awesome1. I understand if you want a few more reasons to do so, though, so read on.)

THE KING begins in 1993 and focuses on the origins of Kingsley Edge’s BDSM empire. Kingsley is 28, newly wealthy, and at loose ends when his former lover, Søren, reenters his life in need of a big favour. In the process of helping Søren deal with a certain fifteen-year-old delinquent’s legal problems, Kingsley lights upon an idea: he’ll use his considerable resources to build the kinky kingdom he once promised to lay at Søren's feet. And if his efforts also give him the chance to take down a fundamentalist church that ruthlessly torments LGBT youth, well, so much the better.