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Karen Ostertag's blog

It was something like...

It's funny how the mind works.  Picture this: you're having lunch with your best friend.  A few weeks ago, you finished a book that you absolutely LOVED, and you think she'd really like it, too.  But now that you have the opportunity to recommend it to her, you find that a few key details (like the book's author and title) have slipped your mind.  You can wax rhapsodic about the plot.  You can remember the color of the dress the heroine is wearing on the cover, and you remember her name-- Rose.  (Or maybe it was Violet?  A flower, anyway.)  You know she has an eccentric older relation.  You sit there wracking your brains, feeling a little embarrassed over your lapse, and assure your friend that you're almost positive the word "Scoundrel" is somewhere in the title... or maybe it was "Scandal"?  (If you're a regular romance reader, you're probably laughing in pained sympathy by now.)  Anyway, you got the book from the library; you're sure the librarian could help her find it.  (Librarian's answer: "Maybe?")  Sound familiar?  I can assure you, you are NOT alone in this difficulty.

New Romance Fiction for March 2011

In paperback:

Undertow by Cherry Adair (1, Cutter Cay) C, M
Here to Stay by Catherine Anderson (3, Harrigan Family) C
An Invitation to Sin by Jo Beverley, Sally Mackenzie, Kaitlin O'Riley, & Vanessa Kelly H (Pbk-Romance Invitation)
Fierce Eden by Jennifer Blake H, W
The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton (1, Play by Play) C
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr (13, Virgin River) C
Dragon Warrior by Janet Chapman (2, Midnight Bay) H, A, F
The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase (2, Strange Neighbors) C, S
The Seduction of His Wife by Tiffany Clare (2, Surrender of a Lady) H

New Speculative Fiction for March 2011

New to our shelves:

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (Best Served Cold) F
Demonstorm by James Barclay (3, Legends of the Raven) F
The Sea Thy Mistress by Elizabeth Bear (2, The Edda of Burdens) SF, F
Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear (1, Halo: The Forerunner Saga) SF
The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg (2, Collegia Magica) F, M
Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop (9, Black Jewels) F, R
Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier, with Christopher Mitten, illus. H
Blackveil by Kristen Britain (4, Green Rider) F
Farlander by Col Buchanan (1, The Heart of the World) F

"BOOKING" A CRUISE

The days are getting noticably longer as the end of winter approaches, but temperatures outside are still uncertain.  (The weather, even more so.  Will this snow EVER go away?)  I know many of you must be longing for balmier weather.  Well, it's cruise season!  If you can't get away from it all in person, why not escape winter for awhile between the pages of a book?  New City Library's doughty crew is ready to weigh anchor for the destination of your choice, and the only passport required is your library card. 

Our romance collection has a veritable fleet of "dreamboats" in port right now, eager to whisk you away to some warm, welcoming sea (or at least a nice bubble bath).  Just think of it-- exotic locations, handsome captains, dashing pirates, charming fellow travellers... and dressing for dinner is completely optional.  Put on your flip-flops, pour yourself an umbrella drink, and grab a deck chair... it's time for a little shipboard romance! 

 

Dark Stars: Diversity in Speculative Fiction

I have an embarrassing confession to make.  Unless the information has been handed to me in an author bio, I am often remarkably clueless about the personal details of the people I read.  Age, gender, race, religion, orientation, ethnicity-- I know they matter in shaping the person who's shaped the story I'm reading, but finding these things out isn't high in my priorities.  I read speculative fiction because I'm interested in the world inside the author's head, not their place in the world outside of it.

Sometimes the answers are obvious, of course, either from the author's name (if it is the author's real name) or from the context of the stories he or she writes.  If I see initials instead of a first name, I'll suppose the author is female-- men don't really need to hide their gender to sell books (except in the Romance genre).  In the absence of other clues, I'll generally assume the author is something like the book's main character, if I take time to think about the matter at all. 

New Romance Fiction for February 2011

In paperback:

The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander H, S
Promise Canyon by Robyn Carr (11, Virgin River) C
Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr (12, Virgin River) C
The Duke's Night of Sin by Kathryn Caskie (3, Seven Deadly Sins) H
The Scent of Jasmine by Jude Deveraux H
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling H
I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell (1, Genies) C, F
Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke (1, Abandoned at the Altar) H
Off Kilter by Donna Kauffman (2, Hot Scot) C
Yours for the Taking by Robin Kaye (4, Domestic Gods) C

New Speculative Fiction for February 2011

New to our shelves:

The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2010 by Rich Horton, ed. SF, F, A (SF Year's)
Visitants: Stories of Fallen Angels & Heavenly Hosts by Stephen Jones, ed. F (Fantasy Visitants)
Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey (2, Sandman Slim) S, F
On the Banks of the River of Heaven by Richard Parks F
The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre by John Polidori, et al. S (Horror Polid)
Citadel by John Ringo (2, Troy Rising) SF
The Sellswords by R. A. Salvatore (1-3, Forgotten Realms: Legend of Drizzt: The Sellswords trilogy) F
Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber (2, Star Wars: Death Troopers) SF, S

Best of Romance for 2010

New City's paperback romances are extremely popular.  Every single title on our shelves goes out at least once a month on average-- there are no "dusty" books here!  In order to keep on top of the collection, I run statistical reports regularly to learn what our library's Romance aficionados are reading.  (Don't worry, your secret Victoria Dahl addiction is safe-- all the numbers I see are in aggregate.)  I analyze which subgenres are the most popular, and which authors and series are the most-read.  Then I combine that information with journal reviews and news from genre blogs to bring the titles you'll want to read to our shelves.  For my first Romance blog entry of the new year, I thought I'd shed a bit of light on what's to come by giving you a look back... at our most popular titles of 2010!

10 Books You Might Have Overlooked in 2010

Everyone's doing "best of" lists this month, but to be honest, I haven't even made it through a quarter of the books I wanted to read in 2010.  I had the best of intentions.  I even made a list.  But the drawback to ordering all the speculative fiction for a medium-sized public library is that I get to see all the pretty new shinies as they come in, and I am very easily distracted by books.  ("Oh, the book I want to read is on reserve... in the meantime, I'll just check out this one... and this one... OH, and this one...!")  I don't feel qualified to come up with a "best of 2010" yet (maybe in June?), so instead I thought I'd share a list of the best books of 2010 you probably haven't read yet.  The first five titles are ones I nearly passed over, and was really glad I didn't.  The remaining five are underread titles that you probably didn't check out last year... but should.

New Romance Fiction for January 2011

In paperback:

The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story by Vivi Andrews (2, Karmic Consultants) C, S
Stranger by Zoe Archer (4, The Blades of the Rose) H, F, M
The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks (1, KGI) C, M
No Place to Run by Maya Banks (2, KGI) C, M
The Heir by Grace Burrowes (1, The Windhams) H
A Countess by Christmas by Annie Burrows (Harlequin Historicals) H
A Most Scandalous Engagement by Gayle Callen (2, Scandalous) H
You Dropped a Blonde on Me by Dakota Cassidy (1, Ex-Trophy Wives) C
Goddess of Legend by P. C. Cast (7, Goddess Summoning) C, A, F

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