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Karen Ostertag's blog

New Speculative Fiction for May 2012

New to our shelves:

White Horse by Alex Adams SF, A, M, R
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (3, Graceling/Seven Kingdoms trilogy) F, M, R
Apocalypse by Troy Denning (9, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi) SF
Darkest Knight by Karen Duvall (2, Knight's Curse) F, R
Immobility by Brian Evenson H, SF, A, M
Red, White and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth (3, The President's Vampire) H, M
Siege by Rhiannon Frater (3, As the World Dies) H, A
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (12, Sookie Stackhouse) H, R
Vengeance by Ian Irvine (1, Tainted Realm) F, M

Royal Romances

Royal Wedding of Prince William & Kate Middleton - from The Daily MailCan you believe it's been a year already?  Yesterday marked the first anniversary of Britain's Prince William and his bride Kate (now known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus).  America may not have celebrated with a bank holiday (though you're welcome to pretend, since our banks were closed on Sunday anyway), but I'm certain there were plenty of royal-watching Americans who raised a glass in their honor yesterday.

New Romance Fiction for April 2012

In paperback:

Afterglow by Cherry Adair (2, Lodestone trilogy) C, M, S
Run from Fear by Jami Alden (3, Beg for Mercy) C, M
Passion Wears Pearls by Renee Bernard (4, Jaded Gentlemen) H
Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown (3, Lords of the Seventh House) H, S
Dying Wish by Shannon K. Butcher (6, Sentinel Wars) C, S
Darkness Bound by Stella Cameron C, S, M
Waltz This Way by Dakota Cassidy C
In the Flesh by Portia Da Costa (1, The Ladies' Sewing Circle) H
Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (1, Men of the Texas Rangers) C, I, W
A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare (2, Spindle Cove) H

New Speculative Fiction for April 2012

New to our shelves:

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear (1, Eternal Sky) F, H
The Master of Heathcrest Hall by Galen Beckett (3, Mrs. Quent) F, A, M
Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop (3, Ephemera) F, H, R
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (3, Alpha and Omega) F, H, R
The Steel Seraglio by Mike, Linda, and Louise Carey F, H
Intruder by C. J. Cherryh (4, Foreigner 4) SF
Wide Open by Deborah Coates F, H, M, R
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow by Cory Doctorow SF
A Crown Imperiled by Raymond E. Feist (2, Riftwar: Chaoswar) F
Body, Inc. by Alan Dean Foster (2, Tipping Point trilogy) SF, M

Inner Space: Philosophical SF

In contrast to last month's best and bloodiest, this month I'm offering something completely different: philosophical science fiction.  While philosophical SF doesn't necessarily stint on the action and suspense-- witness the ratcheting tension of Charles Stross's Glasshouse or the action-laced intrigue of Elizabeth Bear's Carnival-- action isn't the primary focus.  Instead, concept is key.  It's part of a literary genre known as the "novel of ideas," wherein fiction is used as a tool to examine some of the big questions: what it means to be human, how we should treat one another, what our purpose should be-- the answers to life, the universe, and everything.*

All Out of Bubblegum: Hard-Hitting SF

There's action to suit every taste in the speculative fiction genre: space ships slugging it out over stellar distances, charming rogues performing acts of derring-do, armies out-maneuvering each other with the tactical elegance of chess pieces, noble adventurers braving unknown dangers and creatures... and then there are the books on this month's list. 

Sometimes, you're just not in the mood for nobility or skillful tactics.  You don't want a plucky, hopeful teenager saving the world and ruining your perfectly bad mood.  What you want is blood, and plenty of it.  You want a hard, wild ride.  You want a gritty, in-your-face action tale with lots of stuff getting hacked off or blown up. 

New Romance Fiction for March 2012

In paperback:

My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander (1, Sinful Family Secrets) H, M
When a Scot Loves a Lady by Katharine Ashe (1, Falcon Club) H, M
A Scandalous Countess by Jo Beverley (12, Malloren) H
Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr (18, Virgin River) C
Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman (1, Spellbound Falls) C, S
How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins H, M
Colt by Georgina Gentry (3, The Texans) H, W
Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace (1, Regency Bachelors) H
She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath (1, Lost Lords of Pembrooke) H

New Speculative Fiction for March 2012

New to our shelves:

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (1, Throne of the Crescent Moon) F, H
Pure by Julianna Baggott (1, Pure trilogy) SF, A, M
The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett F, H
Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot SF, A
The Ruined City by Paula Brandon (2, The Veiled Isles) F, R
House of Doors by Chaz Brenchley (1, Keys to D'Esperance) H
Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell SF, A, M
The Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas (3, The Memory of Flames) F
The Scar by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko, with Elinor Huntington, trans. F, R

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

The Lakes of Killarney, County Kerry, IrelandHappy Leap Day!  If you were born 72 years ago on this day: congratulations, you're finally old enough to vote!  Unfortunately, the romantic possibilities for Leap Day are pretty slim.  A trampoline date?  (Sounds dangerous.)  Kiss a Leap Baby?  (You've only got a 1 in 1461 chance of finding one.)  If you're looking for a kissable holiday, the next one in the calendar has much better odds-- St. Patrick's Day, the one time of the year that everyone can be a little bit Irish for a day.  With the mild winter we've had this year, it may even look as green as Ireland outside by St. Paddy's Day.  If not, pull that green sweater out of your wardrobe and let's go looking for romance!

Worlds without Borders

The First Horn by Richard Schwartz.  Last Year Was Probably a Good Year by Yamamoto Hiroshi.  And Despite All… by Juan De Dios Garduño.  Have you read any of these?  They're all best-selling, award-winning works of speculative fiction.  They're all written by well-established authors writing at the top of their game.  But... I'll bet you haven't read them.  How am I so certain?  Because none of them were written in or translated into English.*

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