Taking the Lead by Cecilia Tan is a contemporary romance with BDSM, first in a new series. The heroine and her sister have inherited their gazillionaire grandfather’s secret Hollywood BDSM club, and the hero is a rock star who’s fallen for the heroine and who happens to be dom to her sub. The characterization is terrific and I love that they have multiple problems going on: keeping the club secret is a big one, but the heroine is also trying to fight her way through the Old Boy Network in the film industry to develop films by women while dealing with her newly-discovered sexual submissiveness; the hero worries about class differences between them while figuring out this is the first time he’s really been in love. As someone who’s not into BDSM personally, I still love this book and find it hot. Tan’s characterization is my favorite thing about her work.
I finally got back to Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts, third in the Creature Court trilogy. In this volume, there’s some flashback to material already referred to in previous books, and a visit to another city where things are different: Aufleur, where most of the action takes place, is sort of future-Roman with lots of ritual and religious festivals, while Bazeppe is full of clockwork. The plot took some radical turns I wasn’t expecting, and cool weird stuff happened and, though the characters sometimes annoyed me, I was not bored! The creative worldbuilding really made this trilogy for me.
The Immortals: Olympus Bound by Jordanna Max Brodsky was a strange but intriguing mixture of Olympian gods with a suspense novel involving serial killings. The Olympians are fading away as they live in the modern world, gradually losing their powers, and some losing their minds as well as their memories (altered by human myth-telling). Artemis is the implacable protagonist, living in New York City and protecting women but not really managing to deal with new technologies or making new connections or keeping up her old ones; she is still feuding with Apollo about the death of Orion, for example. There is also a romance subplot for her, which was sort of a weird fit, I felt, with everything else going on; it turned out all right for the characters, as did the other two main plot threads, but I’m not sure the whole book was successful for me, as a reader. Too much going on? Not enough connection to the non-human characters? I did enjoy the worldbuilding quite a bit, and I kept reading without really meaning to do so.
Here is my enthused non-spoilery preview of Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat at Heroes and Heartbreakers.
In Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson, Kamala thinks she might be falling in love with a boy even her parents approve of; as you can imagine, things do not go smoothly.
Ms. Marvel Volume 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson was pretty damned intense and amazingly cliff-hangery and agh, Volume 5 is not out until July! Agh!
I finally got to read Young Avengers Volume 2: Alternative Cultures by Kieron Gillen, which had some fun dialogue from young Loki as well as the arrival of Prodigy, who’s lost his mutant powers but still has all the knowledge he gained from them; I like his perspective a lot. There’s some nifty universe-hopping thanks to America Chavez, and Teddy is worried that unconscious use of Billy’s powers might have made them fall in love. I had a lot of trouble getting hold of this volume in particular! Luckily, I already have volume three.
The Peggers’ Tale by kinetikatrue, for Sybill is medieval-style poetry about Elinor of Aquitaine and her maid, and Henry Plantagenet and, well, pegging. I found absolutely brilliant, because how could I not.
It Will Probably Accelerate by northatlantic is another one of those Avengers stories in which Steve Rogers has to deal with being thrust into a future where almost all of his friends are dead. This one has Jim Morita, alive! But it’s mostly a slow-build Steve Rogers/Tony Stark romance along with the mourning.
Leave No Soul Behind by whochick is a really long AU of the Star Trek reboot universe, in which Kirk and Spock (and McCoy, and Uhura, and Chapel, and Scotty, and Chekov, and Gaila, and even Janice Rand, briefly) are in an outer space ambulance service, but the plot from the first reboot movie is still happening, and also there is eventually Kirk/Spock romance. But there are a lot of other things as well including Spock Prime, Kirk’s conflict with his mother and his related angst, Admiral Pike, Spock being awesome, Sarek!, and some excellent original characters. Why did we never seen an outer space ambulance service onscreen? I would’ve watched the hell out of that.
The Hell’s Kitchen Survivors’ Group and Drinking Club by onethingconstant is an absolutely delightful series in which the Winter Soldier meets Jessica Jones, and it just gets better from there. Features much drinking in bars, and also Hawkeye and Daredevil.
Further Studies in Impossibility by metonymy places Ariadne from the movie Inception into the Harry Potter series as the daughter of Teddy Lupin. This all works amazingly well, and I loved seeing the older versions of some familiar characters.