I hit a run of "eh" books. I'm not sure if that was about the books or my mood, honestly.
I tried reading Blindfold Game by Dana Stabenow. I love her writing, most of the time. I couldn't stomach another evil terrorist story, though.
So I picked up an anthology that included an Eve Dallas story by J.D. Robb, Dead of Night. I enjoyed that story, but couldn't even make myself start the other three. Two time-travel romances out of four stories? Nah. The "magic carpet ride" line didn't catch my interest, either.
I think there was another anthology that I picked up and tossed aside, too.
I've seen Anne Bishop's books many times over the years. Their lovely covers caught my eye, but I never picked up the volumes, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because nobody ever recommended her to me? The fact that I was coming in mid-series factored in, as well. Anyway, I requested a bunch of her books recently, and they were in the big batch we picked up last week.
The Realms of the Blood series is much longer, so I started with Ephemera to get a taste of Bishop. Sebastian, the first book of that series, was very good. Odd, a little disjointed at times (which makes sense for that world), but good. I went on to Belladonna, and was truly afraid near the end that I'd made a mistake. I cared about the characters, and I do not like unhappy endings. Nosirreebob, not one bit. That Buffy-sacrifices-herself-to-close-the-gate thing? Hated it. Yeah, I know she saved the world. Not enough for me. I want the heroes alive and living happily ever after. I thought I was going to be taking a whole basket full of books back to the library untouched.
I don't like spoilers, but I will tell you that I started reading the Black Jewels trilogy as soon as I finished Belladonna. And I kept reading, so that I'm nearing the end of book three in that trilogy, Queen of the Darkness, and really haven't gotten anything done today because of it.
There are elements of romance to Bishop's writing, but she doesn't pair everybody up two by two. Love happens, or it doesn't, without so much predictability that it's annoying. Love ages, grows or withers or turns bitter, just like it does in real life. It works with the story.
I did have to tell Sam, somewhere in volume two, Heir to the Shadows, "This plot could be simplified greatly by judicious assassinations." And, yes, it could. But the people who could carry them out would have lost their honor, which is of course a major plot issue, and they wouldn't be heroes any more. (I'm more of a Giles than a Buffy, and I'm totally okay with that.)
I'll be reading more Bishop in the future. I may need to stop and read something else, but I may plot right on immediately. The only other fiction that's available in sufficient quantities at the moment is John Ringo, and the thought of military science fiction brings back the "eh" in a big way.