How have I not read Elizabeth Moon's Once a Hero before? I actually had a paperback copy of it to match my ebook. It was kind of lovely. I didn't read the last two or first three of the series, because I am kind of burnt out on conspiracies and corruptions, but you guys! Awesome ladies of color fighting space pirates! Some of them awesome older ladies! Maybe skip Once a Hero if you have noncon issues (it's nongraphic and in the past); DEFINITELY skip the sequel if you do (still not very graphic, but there is a fuckton of it in a particular storyline).
Bitter because everything I want to read comes out in March. Shelly Laurenston, Anne Bishop, Heidi Cullinan, seriously, EVERYTHING.
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews is fucking awesome, you guys. I put it off for a while because the description was super romance novel-y, but that was a mistake. There will definitely be a romance eventually, but this book was way more focused on "save the family business, catch the murdering narcissistic pyromage", which I am WAY more into. The worldbuilding is amazing, the badass mother and grandmother are amazing, the weird feral-cat weapon of mass destruction that is our (eventual!) romantic lead is amazing. RECOMMENDED.
So I have been into Wen Spencer for a long time, and then I peaced out mid-Wolf Who Rules and never finished the series and now I'm thinking it may have just been bad timing, because I gave it another shot and I am fucking in. It may have been fear of an impending love triangle that made me bow out before? But it turns out elves have a whole poly setup that is much more comfortable for me. I should have trusted you, Wen Spencer! I am sorry. Now give me more books, because I have a lot of feelings. Like, a whole fuckton of feelings about the nature documentary sideplot in particular, and about Pittsburgh in general.
But seriously, that short story about the morning show: I would read a whole fucking book. I would buy the eArc of that book, and tell all my friends, and please please give me that book.
Also, what the fuck is going to happen to Tommy's forbidden baby? Also, am I crazy or did Stone Clan's resident nutbag do something seriously magical to his lady's baby? Also, I need Tinker to find out about her biosibs immediately. Seriously, WHAT IS UP with all the cliffhanger-y baby drama, I need so many answers/reaction shots.
Speaking of Wen Spencer, Eight Million Gods is relevant to several people's interests: Nikki, a writer on the run from the controlling and powerful mother who has institutionalized her repeatedly (she has hypergraphia), finds out that her novel in progress - including the brutal murders - is actually happening. Set in Japan, it does some neat/horrifying stuff with mythology (the part where the mostly-villain burns out a succession of shrine maidens as insufficiently powerful vessels was pretty messed up) and with Nikki's powers/limitations.
So I finally read all (well, all but book 10) of the Chronicles of Elantra and they were mostly good - A+ worldbuilding - but oh my god, do not read them in one go. By book 8, I was definitely losing patience with the climactic battle/epiphany scene - seriously, I will read your badass boss battle OR your intense emotional journey, stop mashing them together - and I hit the fucking wall with book 9. Which sucked, because that was potentially amazing, but the familiar + the ritual + the lost children + Kaylin's complete inability to prioritize "massive danger to multiple people if action isn't taken basically immediately" over "that person on the ground over there needs my help!"...I can't even. You needed to do those two at a time AT MOST.
Also, that is the creepiest fucking love triangle in the world. And somehow the immortal, unaging, sinister slumlord isn't the creepiest option! Because here is the thing with Severn: he is already in love with her at the beginning of the first book. Therefore, he either fell in love with her while CANONICALLY STALKING HER FROM THE SHADOWS FOR YEARS or SOMEHOW EVEN CREEPIER, fell in love with her WHEN SHE WAS THIRTEEN AND HE WAS EIGHTEEN, after being her BIG BROTHER/PSEUDO-PARENT SINCE SHE WAS FIVE. I am going all in for the slumlord, y'all, because what the sparkling fuck.
For real, I want that Shelly Laurenston book so bad. I am super into her female characters, especially the nonhuman ones. For example, Blayne* is the perky, cheerful, matchmaking heroine in the series and yet it is completely believeable when she brutally murders a bunch of attempted kidnappers, because her mom got hunted when she was a kid, so her dad made sure she could defend herself! Also, female friendships! Female friendships that are more than convenient author-excuses for talkin' 'bout men! That are actually way more about roller derby and barhopping and dragracing and family and backing each other up!
*Of Beast Behaving Badly, which I was going to link, but 1) ick, the cover - Blayne's black and 2) eurgh, the description - he does not "shadow her around New York", she talks him into a coaching arrangement, and most importantly, Bo is 100% not "smooth-talking". IN THEIR FIRST INTERACTION, SHE IS CONVINCED HE IS A SERIAL KILLER. Reproduced here, because it is my favorite:
She dried her hands with paper towels and headed to the door. Pulling it open, she walked out in the hallway, saw Bo Novikov and his perpetual scowl leaning against the wall across from the bathroom, turned right around and went back inside, closing and locking the door behind her.
There was a lengthy pause from the other side and then, “You have to come out of there eventually.”
Good God, he said that matter-of-factly! She could imagine him using the same inflection with, “You know I’ll have to cut out your liver eventually.”
“No I don’t,” she told him through the door. “I’ve done the research. A person could survive on just water for a good sixty days. Plus I have a toilet. In theory, I have what I need.”
Blayne gasped, cutting him off. “How do you know my name? How long have you been hunting me? Well, you can take your cellar of death where you keep all the bodies of the women you’ve slaughtered over the years and go to hell. Because this target, which you probably refer to as ‘it’ in your head to keep me as merely an object, is not going down without a fight!”
Proud of her speech, Blayne waited for Novikov to walk away. Instead she heard a brief sigh, then silence, but no footsteps. Where were the damn walking-away footsteps?
Blayne waited a bit longer and having absolutely no patience to speak of, slowly crept closer to the door. She was only a few inches away when the door was ripped off its hinges and placed aside by the brute who’d done it.
Blayne squealed and stumbled back as Novikov stepped into the bathroom. Glaring down at her, he said, “Now we can talk.”
Basically, Bo is like someone combined fandom!Sidney Crosby and the Hulk and it is pretty great for me, but 90% of the rest of the characters hate him, because somehow a laser focus on winning, a super intense commitment to scheduled routines, and the ability to hurl grown men across hockey rinks at whim do not net you a lot of fans. Just, you know, my unending love.
I dipped back into some YA (nothing I hadn't read before) and watched some stuff and guys, I spend a lot of time just baffled by some of these high school experiences. Are school nurses really a common thing? I did three different school districts and they were never a thing.
And seriously, are most people getting sex ed? We never even got the basic health lecture about changing bodies or whatever that I keep seeing in stuff. I have LITERALLY never gotten a sex talk from ANYBODY. There was a "why are my boobs different sizes" conversation with my mom when I was seven or eight that she found hilarious and I found spectacularly unhelpful (my mom doesn't really have boobs), and an excruciating but thankfully brief explanation on menstruation from my dad's girlfriend in probably sixth grade, and that was IT.
My sex education has all come from you, Internet. And not the cool helpful version of you that includes Scarleteen. The porn you.
For everyone wincing at the screen right now, let me make it worse. I was definitely one of the better-informed girls at my school, because I did have the Internet, and privacy. Oh, and romance novels. There was a lot of unsafe sex at my high school, y'all, and at least some of it was not intended to be that way.