The Iron Duke, by Maljean Brook. Steampunk romance with zombies. I really liked Brook's world-building, but the romance aspect of this was tediously old-school, with far too much talk of how the hero is some sort of six-foot-seven shoulders-too-wide-for-doorways giant and the heroine is this tiny waif one-third his size (this talk includes details that, frankly, should make their sex extraordinarily painful for the heroine if not anatomically impossible). And I've noticed something about romances written in the last ten years: balls. The romance novels I read as a teenager featured, of course, many throbbing members and lustful shafts, but I don't remember the guy's balls ever really being mentioned. In the new ones it's all about the balls, and their mass, to an extent that is worthy of Hemingway writing about bulls. And Brook has a faux-British slang going on in her world, the end result of which is that our hero's balls are referred to as "cods". As in, "she hefted his weighty cods". Well, of course she did. I know when I'm in bed with a man I go straight for the weighty cods.
I apologize for that entire paragraph.
This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George. This is another Inspector Lynley book; they had really started irritating me but in this one Lynley's obnoxious aristocrat wife is dead, so I thought it might be bearable. Alas, it was irritating. I finished it because I wanted to know the solution to the mystery, but the characters drove me up the wall. The main female character (and Lynley's new love interest) is a strong career-driven woman, so of course she must have a shameful weakness, and George chooses to make it alcoholism. Alcoholism which is so far gone that this woman drinks heavily during the day, at her job; and yet is still beautiful and put-together and competent and only Lynley with his profound deductive skills guesses that she's drinking. Um, Ms. George? That is NOT the way it works. If you are at the point of downing vodka in the work bathroom several times a day, there are going to have been visible signs of the problem long before that.
Jar City, by Arnaldur Indridason. Icelandic mystery. Very grim and grey but I didn't hate it.
Gods and Beasts, by Denise Mina. Not the strongest of hers that I have read, but I do love her little character vignettes.
Midnight at Marble Arch, by Anne Perry. This was a standard late-series Perry (i.e., formulaic and brief but still with a decent sense of setting), only notable because it ends with a scene in which two villains are holding a woman hostage; the hero bursts in; one villain shoots the other, who is holding the woman, and then the hero stabs the remaining villain through the eyeball with a letter opener. Then the hero asks the woman, "Are you all right?" and she says, perfectly calmly, "I am fine," and, like, glides across the room into his arms. I cannot help but think what she actually would have done would be more like:
HOLY SHIT you stabbed a man in the EYEBALL INTO HIS BRAIN my letter opener is IN THAT DUDE'S BRAIN and that other guy just got SHOT ALL OVER ME there is BLOOD ALL OVER MY ROOM there are VIOLENTLY DEAD PEOPLE IN MY DRAWING ROOM and the EYEBALL oh my GOD *wobbles / staggers / vomits*.
Maybe that's just me.
Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings, by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie. My Early Reviewers book. Cute little chapters about princesses who led armies, had affairs, went mad, etc. It's written very informally but the style worked for me. Would make good bathroom reading.
In other news, I had a lovely dog-centric weekend with Berowne. We went out to breakfast at a place that allows dogs on the patio (and at one point every table on said patio had at least one dog at it), then set up their tie-outs in the yard and brushed Darcy and threw a ball for Bingley and then Berowne found a kiddie pool somewhere and set it up for Darcy, who was delighted with this development. Later in the day we went out for ice cream to a place that is also dog-friendly and even sells frozen yogurt for dogs. So much excitement! On the drive home yesterday, Darcy fell asleep so soundly that I kept putting my hand in front of his nose to make sure he was still breathing.
I'd say how lucky I am to have found a man who loves my dogs almost as much as I do, but a) how could you not love them and b) if he didn't love them, he and I wouldn't have lasted a year already.
Yes, it has been a year since we met! Imagine that. A year of being loved by the sweetest, kindest, funniest, most attractive man I've ever known. I can only imagine what he gets out of the relationship: access to the dogs, I imagine. Makes sense to me.