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Karen Ostertag's blog

Summer Favorites: Romance

For many, the approach of Labor Day (or as some parents put it, "Independence Day") signals the end of summer.  The end of August is bittersweet; on one hand, it's sad to start packing away the beach gear, but on the other, the start of the school year means that some of you will soon have a lot more free time to read.  With that in mind, I thought I'd wrap up the summer by sharing my own favorite romance reads from the past few months.

I've encountered more than the usual number of spectacular titles this summer.  My personal tastes in romance lean towards historicals (mainly regencies) and the occasional urban fantasy, but I've been pushing myself this year to read out of my comfort zone and try a wider variety of romance's subgenres.  Regencies are still my favorites, but my wider reading has definitely unearthed a few gems that will keep me reading outside my usual categories.  (I have yet to warm to western romance, but if anyone has recommendations, I'd be happy to hear them.) 

New Romance Fiction for August 2013

In paperback:

Can't Help Falling in Love (Gabe & Megan) by Bella Andre (3, The Sullivans) C
Paradise Valley by Rosanne Bittner H, W, M, O
And Then Comes Marriage by Celeste Bradley (2, The Wicked Worthingtons) H, M
London's Last True Scoundrel by Christina Brooke (1, Ministry of Marriage: The Westruthers) H, A
Hot Summer Nights by Jaci Burton, Carly Phillips, Jessica Clare, and Erin McCarthy (0.5, Hope;
      1.5, Serendipity's Finest; 2.5, Bluebonnet, TX) C (Pbk-Romance Hot)
      (contains Hope Smoulders, Perfect Strangers, The Legend of Jane, and Ice Princess)

New Speculative Fiction for August 2013

New to our shelves:

Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks (3, Shannara: Dark Legacy of Shannara) F, H, M
MacRieve by Kresley Cole (13, Immortals after Dark) F, H, R
The Year's Best Science Fiction 30 by Gardner Dozois, ed. (30, Year's Best Science Fiction) SF (SF Year's)
On the Razor's Edge by Michael Flynn (4, January Dancer) SF
The Glass God by Kate Griffin (2, Magicals Anonymous) F, H, M
After the End: Recent Apocalypses by Paula Guran, ed. (6, Recent Monster Anthologies) SF (SF After)
The Humans by Matt Haig SF, R
Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton (22, Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) H, R, M

New Romance Fiction for July 2013

In paperback:

One Day in Apple Grove by C. H. Admirand (2, Smalltown, USA) C
From This Moment On (Marcus & Nicola) by Bella Andre (2, The Sullivans) C
Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer (1, Nemesis Unchained) H, M
An Outlaw in Wonderland by Lori Austin (2, Once upon a Time in the West) H, W, M
Forged in Steele by Maya Banks (7, KGI) C, M
The Billion Dollar Cowboy by Carolyn Brown (1, Cowboys & Brides) C, W
One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton (6, Play by Play) C, E
Take Me Under by Rhyannon Byrd (1, Dangerous Tides) C, M, E
Unforgiven by Anne Calhoun C, E

New Speculative Fiction for July 2013

New to our shelves:

Clockwork Fairy Tales by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Bassett, eds. F, SF, A (Fantasy Clockwork)
The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill A, SF, R
Lexicon by Max Barry SF, F, M
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes A, SF, M
Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe (2, Tufa) F
Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston (2, Ender: The First Formic War) SF (SF Card)
Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey (3, Expanse) SF
Cold Steel by Kate Elliott (3, Spiritwalker trilogy) F, A
The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla, with Mitch Ginsburg, trans. F, SF, R, M

New Romance Fiction for June 2013

In paperback:

Haven Creek by Rochelle Alers (3, Cavanaugh Island) C, O
The Emperor's New Clothes by Victoria Alexander (11, Faerie Tale Romance) H, W
The Look of Love by Bella Andre (1, The Sullivans) C
Homecoming by Lacey Baker (1, Sweetland) C
Ours To Love by Shayla Black (7, Wicked Lovers) C, E, M/F/M
Half Moon Hill by Toni Blake (6, Destiny) C
Hearts of Shadow by Kira Brady (2, Deadglass trilogy) C, A, F, S
Walking in Fire by Cathryn Cade (1, Hawaiian Heroes) C, M, S, O, E
Surrender to the Earl by Gayle Callen (2, Brides of Redemption) H

New Speculative Fiction for June 2013

New to our shelves:

The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham (3, Dagger and the Coin) F, M
School's Out Forever by Scott Andrews (2: 3, 5, 7, The Afterblight Chronicles Omnibus) SF, M
      (contains Children's Crusade, Operation Motherland, and School's Out)
Nebula Awards Showcase 2013 by Catherine Asaro, ed. (2013, Nebula Awards Showcase) SF (SF Nebula 2013)
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks H
Guardian by Jack Campbell (3, The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier) SF
The Watchtower by Lee Carroll (2, Black Swan Rising) F, H, R
Blood and Bone by Ian C. Esslemont (5, The Malazan Empire) F, M

Pixies in the Drawing Room: Gaslamp Fantasy

Frances Griffiths and fairy, 1917I've discussed historical-set speculative fiction in the past, specifically the popularity of steampunk and the weird West.  Today I'd like to introduce you to steampunk's fey cousin, gaslamp fantasy.  If you like fantasy and you enjoy period novels, gaslamp fantasy will be right up your cobblestoned alley.  Think of it as urban fantasy with a 19th-century twist.

The term "gaslamp fantasy" covers fantasy fiction set in the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras, though some will stretch the definition as far as the early years of the 20th century, up the first World War.  While steampunk found its origins in the likes of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and the innovative marvels of the Industrial Age, gaslamp fantasy's wonders generally stem from more uncanny sources.

New Romance Fiction for May 2013

In paperback:

Bite Me, Your Grace by Brooklyn Ann H, S, M
Sinner's Heart by Zoe Archer (3, Hellraisers) H, S
As Twilight Falls by Amanda Ashley (23, Vampire Romances) C, S
Fever by Maya Banks (2, The Breathless trilogy) C, E
Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann (Troubleshooters) C, M
Darius by Grace Burrowes (1, Lonely Lords) H
Falling Blind by Shannon K. Butcher (7, Sentinel Wars) C, S
Uncommon Pleasure by Anne Calhoun C, E
    (contains Over the Edge and All On the Line)
The Marrying Season by Candace Camp (3, Legend of St. Dwynwen) H, M

New Speculative Fiction for May 2013

New to our shelves:

Spirit's End by Rachel Aaron (5, The Legend of Eli Monpress) F, H
Juggernaut by Adam Baker (1, Outpost) H, M, SF
Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (2, Jessica McClain) F, H
Protector by C. J. Cherryh (14:5, Foreigner 4) SF
London Falling by Paul Cornell F, H, M
A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda F, R
Hauntings by Ellen Datlow, ed. H, F (Horror Hauntings)
The Exiled Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (3, The Assassini trilogy) F, H, M
Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations by Paula Guran, ed. (5, Recent Monster Anthologies) F, H, M (Fantasy Weird)

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