Did I mention that they changed the blood donation timing? Because now I can go fortnightly. This is useful for me gaining points (likely to spend on a set of pots and pans rather than anything particularly chainsaw-shaped) and also for getting me out of the house in the summer.
So I went! A trio of students observed through the process; I am an excellent teaching specimen because I know the drill, I know what wrong things feel like, and as long as I'm warm, most things don't go wrong. Plus, and this is an important plus, they changed the thermostat settings after years of begging from the staff.
I was actually warm without the blankets. Possibly... I might have gotten uncomfortably warm, given time.
Anyway, two hours later, I'd done a triple platelet, drunk a pint of milk, eaten a double handful of string cheese, and had a coffee hot chocolate, then I took my overheated self to a science booster club meeting.
And now books.
Rachel Hartman, Seraphina. A reread. Still good, still interesting. I am in favor of saints.
Shadow Scale. The reason for the reread. And this one... okay, I am not the biggest fan of books that are mostly about traveling, but this wasn’t entirely. Plus it had a really good resolution to the love triangle, which was already a nonstandard love triangle.
Melinda Salisbury, The Sin-Eater’s Daughter. You know how you were at fourteen, or how others were? How it was to be in the one true youthgroup or the atheist driven to the word because of that youthgroup? How clear and easy and obvious the truth was?
Yeah, that’s this book. I kept wanting to grab the main characters and make them see reason, or at least a reasonable theory of mind. Blech.
Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, Anne Stuart, The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes. Reread. Because I went into the story expecting ridiculous lightness and already knowing that everyone’s obsessed with Europe, I was not displeased. I do kind of want to see how many pages of the book were devoted to a single libido spell. Might have been a sixth.
Juliet Marillier, Shadowfell, Raven’s Flight, The Caller. I’m putting these all together because that’s how I read them. While I roll my eyes at Marillier’s fascination with the British Isles and dialect, and huff a fair amount at her need to have an evil woman behind the seemingly evil king-- he gets to be evil because he married poorly and is easily led, but she’s just a woman who likes blood and power and orders toddlers whipped, I mean seriously-- it’s a good trilogy.
Joe Abercrombie, Half a King. Yup, it’s a guy book. I’m not sure if it Bechdels, but I’d be surprised-- I suppose I could check easily enough, since there are only two or three scenes... wait, it totally does, because at some point the merchant captain must give her slave an order or something. So there are scenes where more than one woman is present.
I generally saw the twists coming, and I liked that the entire plot was driven out of fear of a woman-- not for, but of. Doing womanly things, but doing them much more competently than anyone else. I'm thinking of picking up the sequel.
Ilona Andrews, Burn for Me. Now I really, really want more urban fantasy, but I reread everything recently enough that I don’t want to go through it all again. A reread, and like the Crusie et al, my low expectations in terms of the romantic lead’s actual romantic leadiness rather than hello Mr Stalker meant I was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t completely rapey all the time.
Ysabeau Wilce, Flora Segunda, Flora’s Dare, Flora’s Fury. I knew I’d be dissatisfied with the third, as these are rereads. I expected to be more okay with it than I was. I have an extreme Thing for erasing one's memory of a person, particularly an important person. You know what would have been more interesting? Keep the memories, lose the love. Otherwise she got ripped off.
Marie Brennan, Warrior. Reread again. Angela and I agree that Eclipse is the most badass and we would like more of him.
Gemma Files, A Book of Tongues. I am not sure why this one does not hit me as ‘guy book’ the way the Abercrombie does. Maybe it’s that women are, for the most part, absent rather than ineffectual. Maybe ‘guy book’ means ‘straight guy book’. Probably the latter. Uncomfortable to read because people doing really terrible things for good reasons within systems that are probably really, really broken. And the library doesn’t have the third one.
Carrie Vaughn, Dreams of the Golden Age. I am SO GLAD this did not end the way After the Golden Age did. Could have used more family stuff, but that’s not the point.
Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls. Reread. This was the first of the Chalion books I read, and it left me kind of meh, mostly because I didn’t understand Ista’s backstory I think. Or the gods. Now it leaves me with a feeling of rightness.
Lisa M Bradley, The Haunted Girl. Book by a friend! And a good one. The first part is poetry, both speculative and not, and the second is short stories, all science fiction and fantasy. The last story is amazing.
Marie Brennan, Witch. Huh. This is a month of rereads. I remember really disliking parts of this, but knowing they were coming, I could see the groundwork I missed before, like an entire damned subplot. Plus, Eclipse. Most badass, would read again.
Randy Henderson, Finn Fancy Necromancy. You know, I expected this to be funnier and twistier. Instead, it seemed to rely on eighties humor, which at this point isn’t new, and generally being urban fantasy with a first-person narrator. I pinged the evil characters immediately, albeit not all of them. Plus erasing memories along with love. See above re bullshit.
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Hallowed Hunt. Of the Chalion books, this is the one that doesn’t fit. It’s not Chalion or Ibra, the gods are there but not the plot, there’s all this mess about kingship and that just doesn’t... it doesn’t work for me. It’s a reread, and all I remembered was that there was a guy and a leopard and barely anything having to do with gods.
Eleanor Arnason, Big Mama Stories. Interesting. Not always for me, but interesting.
Elizabeth Hoyt, Dearest Rogue. I think we have two more sequels coming. This one... eh. Had good stuff in it, but the villain was pointlessly evil, the disability plot wasn’t followed through as much as I wanted, and the whole wasn’t satisfying.
Evan Roskos, Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Pets. Too much Whitman, not enough catharsis.
Diverse Energies, ed Buckell and Monti. Wow, the future is hella bleak. And that makes me sad, that a bunch of fiction specifically aimed at including people who aren’t included is also so depressing. “Solitude” is an outlier in the anthology, being both a very clear reprint and not really about today’s POC, but hey, I love “Solitude” and I understood it more this time around. Also not a lot of Africa in there, but you know, the perfect is the enemy of the good here.
Tamora Pierce, First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight. Rereads, the first I’ve done. Surprisingly brief, though it’s not like I should be surprised. And very... comforting, I guess? I can see what she’s doing in places, and it’s school books and there are good people. Then it’s books about sex and consent and agency, and then competence in ways that I can be competent.
I am not touched by any goddess. I am not chosen by a sinister Chamber, though I would kind of like to try that just to... I don’t know, see. But I can run things. And I can have ambitions slash delusions of running things as well as Kel. And it’s not like I thought Alanna was impossible-- I mean, that’s the whole point of Kel, that she’s possible when Alanna isn’t, but I read Alanna before I had quite internalized that I would never be bilingual, a child star, or an Olympian.
So... points to Tamora Pierce for accomplishing everything she tried to accomplish there in ways that make me feel insightful for noticing.
The first two I read in paper, with the right covers, and the second two in a four-pack ebook from the library that was poorly and inconsistently formatted, but which did include “Bone’s Day Out”. I remember hearing about that story at Alpha. It is a good story.