I've been home sick for the past two days. (I know, I know!) Which means that I've had nothing to do except read and sleep. So I read "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker, "The Replacement" by Brenna Yovanoff" and "River Marked" by Patricia Briggs.
"The Gift of Fear" is actually titled "The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence". Oh. My. Gosh. It's about hearing and respecting your intuition in order to stay safe. It's about learning violence "PINs" (pre-incident indicators) that can tell you when something bad is about to happen. I strongly suggest that if you're ever going to write a book with a bad guy in it, you read this book. It can tell you what your bad guy should say that will make your readers uneasy and scooting back against the headboard while they're not sure why. (Unless they've read this book, too.)
He explains, for example, what an interview is, how a bad guy tests how committed you are when you say "no", why a stranger may force help on you, and why the use of "we" by a stranger is so scary. He deals with stalkers, domestic violence, assassins, "random" violence, and workplace violence. It is a painful read, but I think it's important.
"The Replacement" by Brenna Yovanoff was wonderful. (The cover on the hardcover edition is awesomeness on its own.) I know I'm late to this party. My friend Building A Life was on this book when it first came out and urged me to read it. It's an urban fantasy about changelings (fairy children left to replace human children stolen by the fae). The world building is awesome and the character growth feels true. And her fae have way worse metal reactions than mine do! :)
"River Marked" by Patricia Briggs. It's the latest Mercy Thompson novel, and it came out yesterday. I resisted buying it for a whole two hours. Aren't you proud of me? I love books with happy endings, and I love books that make me cry. That's "and" not "or". If you're going to make me cry (yay!) you better give me a happy ending! I won't say if Patricia Briggs does this or not, but I will say this is a classic Mercy Thompson novel.
I also love (love, love, love) the fact that Patricia Briggs goes into uncharted romance territory and actually shows what happens after the lovers get married. Many writers are afraid to go there (that's how TV is killing "Bones" for example), but Patricia Briggs deftly shows that after you ride off into the sunset, there is still sexual tension, still passion, and problems still exist and need to be figured out. (Marriage is not a magic recipe to remove all misunderstandings, as anyone that's been married knows.)