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Karen Ostertag's blog

New Romance Fiction for May 2010

In paperback:

Desires of a Perfect Lady by Victoria Alexander H
Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen (4, The Final Prophecy) C, S
Cold Hearted by Beverly Barton (5, Griffin Powell) C, M
Dead by Midnight by Beverly Barton (6, Griffin Powell) C, M
A Most Sinful Proposal by Sara Bennett H
The Secret Duke by Jo Beverley (10, The Mallorens) H
The Devil’s Playground by Jenna Black (5, Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist) C, S
Rogue in My Arms by Celeste Bradley (2, The Runaway Brides) H
Enigma by Carla Cassidy (Harlequin Intrigue: Maximum Men) C, M
Out of Eden by Beth Ciotta C

New Speculative Fiction for May 2010

New to our shelves:

Dark Matter by S. W. Ahmed SF
Backlash by Aaron Allston (4, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi) SF
Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld) H, R
Directive 51 by John Barnes SF, A
Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle by Peter S. Beagle, with Jonathan Strahan, ed. F, H
The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett (2, Demon trilogy) F
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (5, Mercy Thompson) F, H, R
Changes by Jim Butcher (12, Dresden Files) F, H
Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow, ed. H
Breakfast at Twilight and Other Stories by Phillip K. Dick, with Gregg Rickman, ed.  (2, The Early

CORINTHIANS, RAKES, AND INCOMPARABLES, OH MY!

This month, I'm continuing the historical romance theme and tackling... Regencies! 

Why is the Regency such a popular setting?  Lots of reasons-- just take a look at what was going on in those days: the Napoleonic Wars, the peak of the Industrial Revolution, the women's rights movement, the birth of Gothic literature, and the Romantic poets, just to name a few.  It was the day of Beau Brummel, the Elgin Marbles, Byron, Keats, Shelley (both of them), Ann Radcliffe, and of course, Miss Jane Austen.  And at the heart of it all, the Ton: the glittering, fascinating, hothouse environment of Britain's upper crust.  Wealth, privilege, education, and refined manners, all held together by a rigid code of conduct for the space of a London Season.  I like to think of the Regency period as romance's answer to the sonnet: the rules might seem oppressive and needlessly complicated, designed to strangle creativity, but think what marvellously subtle and nuanced work can result!  Is it any wonder that the Regency is the most popular type of historical romance in our library?

SWORDS AND SORCERY: HEROIC FANTASY

In 1932, a sword-wielding barbarian, "black-haired, sullen-eyed," strode out of the pages of Weird Tales magazine and straight into the hearts of young men everywhere.  His name was Conan, and he and his savage homeland of Cimmeria were the creation of American writer Robert E. Howard.  Howard only wrote four years' worth of Conan stories-- he committed suicide in 1936-- but his creation outlived him in the pens of such authors as L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, and in the face of a certain governor of California.  Thanks to Conan and other characters like him, Howard is generally credited with the invention of the heroic fantasy subgenre.  (To that, I have three words: Gilgamesh, Odysseus, and Beowulf.  But I'd happily grant him "popularization of the genre.")  Nearly 30 years later, Fritz Lieber (of "Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser" fame) coined the phrase it's best known by today-- "sword and sorcery."

New Romance Fiction for April 2010

In paperback:

Revenge Wears Rubies by Renee Bernard (1, Jaded Gentlemen) H
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (Harlequin SuperRomance) C
Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Brockmann (Sunrise Key) C (reprint)
Out of Body by Stella Cameron (1, Court of Angels) C, S, M
Receptionist Under Cover by C. J. Carmichael (3, Harlequin SuperRomance: The Fox & Fisher Detective Agency) C, M
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr (10, Virgin River) C
Tempt Me If You Can by Janet Chapman (2, The Sinclair Brothers) C
Most Eagerly Yours by Allison Chase (1, Her Majesty's Secret Servants) H, M
Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole (9, Immortals after Dark) F, S

New Speculative Fiction for April 2010

New to our shelves:

Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam SF
Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop (8, Black Jewels) F, R
The Changed by B. J. Burrow H
Spellwright by Blake Charlton (1, Spellwright) F
Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter (Immortals after Dark / Alien Huntress) F, SF, R
    (shelved at Fantasy Deep)
Wild Ride by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer F, R, H
The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 1 by Ellen Datlow, ed. H (shelved at Horror Best)
Shadows in the Cave by Caleb Fox (2, Zadayi Red) F
Jade Man’s Skin by Daniel Fox (2, Moshui, The Books of Stone and Water) F

THE FLOWER OF CHIVALRY: MEDIEVAL ROMANCES

Codex Manesse, Bergner von HorheimIf a lover of romantic historical fiction were to search our catalog for "medieval romance," she might get a bit confused.  You see, she'd find medieval romance... but she'd also find medieval romance!  (See what I mean by "confused"?)  The same term-- "medieval romance"-- gets used to describe two very different bodies of literature.  

New Romance Fiction for March 2010

In paperback:

Knock Me for a Loop by Heidi Betts (3, Chicks with Sticks) C
Triumph in Arms by Jennifer Blake (6, Masters at Arms) H
Her Sexy Valentine by Stephanie Bond (Harlequin Blaze) C, A
The Golden Season by Connie Brockway H
Perfect Partners? by C. J. Carmichael (1, Harlequin SuperRomance: The Fox & Fisher Detective Agency) C, M
P. I. Contest by C. J. Carmichael (2, Harlequin SuperRomance: The Fox & Fisher Detective Agency) C, M
Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr (9, Virgin River) C
Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy (4, Accidental Friends) C, S
A Midwife Crisis by Lisa Cooke (1, Home in the Heartland) H, W

New Speculative Fiction for March 2010

New to our shelves:

Ninth Circle by Alex Bell H
Able One by Ben Bova SF
Real Unreal by Kevin Brockmeier, ed. (3, Best American Fantasy) F
Geosynchron by David Louis Edelman (3, Jump 225 trilogy) SF
Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson (9, Malazan Book of the Fallen) F
The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans (2, The Iron Elves) F
The Sorceress of Karres by Eric Flint and David Freer (3, Witches of Karres) SF, F
Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost (1, Chronicles of Isambard Smith) SF
Brooklyn Knight by C. J. Henderson (1, Prof. Piers Knight) F, H, M

HAULING OUT THE BIG GUNS: HARD-HITTING SF

I received a request in last month's comments for some reading suggestions in military science fiction.  As I was putting a list together, I thought it likely that more than one person would be interested in this subgenre, and that it would be a shame to bury my answer in the depths of the archives.  So without further ado, here's the question and my response....

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