Catherine Asaro's Ruby Dynasty books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I think her world building is inconsistent and her characters strike me as constantly astonished to find that they live in their society (in a "what, my mother the queen is a constitutional monarch?" kind of way), but reading the dialog as her characters stumble around in confusion pleases me and leaves me waiting for more.
Not to mention that as I read the series I know that she's written a book that takes place a decade or so in the future of these books that indicates that everything the good guys are trying to do will fail utterly, but the books themselves are so optimistic that I can't see that happening. La la la.
Anyway, I got Carnelians from the library and gobbled it up. It has many of the aspects I most delight in, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. One main character is apparently the accidental offspring of some people from an earlier book, despite that fact that several of the intervening books have stressed how impossible it is for these characters to reproduce without extensive help or by dangerous in-breeding. Hey, stuff happens. And she has many secret abilities that she has effortlessly hidden for her entire childhood, despite the extreme pain other characters with the same abilities suffer through attempting to conceal them. But whatever, here she is, having adventures, and being astonished that people feared and ostracized by EVERYONE in her world react pleasantly when she doesn't know to fear and avoid them. Because why would she? They are just people.
And then there are old favorites like Kelric and Roca with their wonderful, amazingly silly conversations, and the hand-waving math/internet/psychic stuff, and throw in more Delric and his rock star career, and I've got a perfect summer pool-side read. And that's before the sex-slaves show up.