My dayjob has free doughnuts this morning.
I got a rec for a Mercedes Lackey novel, The Fire Rose, and since it's set in the early twentieth century, I found it and read it. It's in her "Elemental Masters" series; I think one of the others in that series was the last time I read a Lackey novel. I like her stuff but don't love it; I don't think I've kept any of the ones I've read. This one I liked but didn't love, either. The main thing I liked was that the hero was of his time for most of the story, which means he wasn't the nicest guy ever.
It's a "Beauty and the Beast" story. The heroine, Rose, is a penniless scholar who's hired by Jason, a Firemaster who is stuck halfway between human and wolf. There are Evil Villains Who Are Evil. There is a wise Chinese herbalist who's an Earth Master. There's a cool Arabian horse. It all wraps up fairly neatly.
The thing that bugged me about this book was that three different times, the heroine thought something along the lines of, "if she ate like this all the time, she'd get fat" and then a bit where she was told a particular herbal concoction had weight loss as a side effect. It weirded me out a little, and made me wonder if somebody was dieting, or thinking about dieting, while the book was being written, or if it was just a coincidence, or if it was supposed to be related to her powers of Air. Regardless, it distracted me. Clearly, I was not really in the mood for this book.