........

.                               Return to home page

Karen Ostertag's blog

TURNING UP THE HEAT

I'm watching the Winter Olympics as I write this, and the biggest snowstorm to hit the Northeast this season is howling outside my window-- there's seven inches on my doorstep already.  I adore snow, but I'm clearly in the minority at this time of year.  Most of the people I've talked to today have had more than their fill of winter.  Well, take heart, ye snowbound and shovel-weary, because this list is for you! 

The romances featured this month have one thing in common: they all take place somewhere HOT.  From the desert to the beach, from the bayou to the jungle (with the occasional firehouse or weredragon's lair in between), I've booked an armchair tour of the warmest latitudes (and steamiest heroes) in romantic fiction, guaranteed to melt away your winter blues.  Turn down that thermostat and pull up a beach chair; it's time to visit the tropics!

LOVE IS IN THE AIR... AND ZOMBIES ARE ON THE RISE!

Valentine's Day is upon us, and this librarian's thoughts are turning to... zombies!  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Move over, sparkly vampires!  Pundits in the publishing world have been predicting since last summer that 2010 will be the Year of the Zombie, and a lot of great titles have been hitting our shelves recently.  The modern zombie has come a long way from George Romero's shuffling, mindless corpses.  Today's zombies are busting out of horror and shambling across genre lines into comedy, sci fi, mystery, fantasy, and yes, even romance.  ("Romantic lead" may seem like a tough sell, but hey, when a zombie gives his heart he really means it.) 

New Romance Fiction for February 2010

In paperback:

Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian (7, Midnight Breed) C, S
Early Dawn by Catherine Anderson C, W
Chalice of Roses by Jo Beverly, et al. F, H, M
How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle (6, The Bachelor Chronicles) H
Kayla’s Daddy by Laura Bradford (Harlequin American Romance: Babies & Bachelors USA) C
Kismet by Monica Burns H
Perfect Partners? by C. J. Carmichael (Harlequin SuperRomance: The Fox & Fisher Detective Agency) C, M
Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr (8, Virgin River) C
A Dark Love by Margaret Carroll C, M
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (3, Tumble Creek) C, M

New Speculative Fiction for February 2010

New to our shelves:

Blood Pact by Dan Abnett (12, Warhammer 40K: Gaunt's Ghosts) SF
Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett H
The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg (1, Collegia Magica) F, M
Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne (1, Day by Day Armageddon) H
Iorich by Steven Brust (12, Vlad Taltos) F
Veracity by Laura Bynum SF
Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card SF
The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn (1, Swords of Albion) F, M
Generation A by Douglas Coupland SF
The Dragon Book by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, eds. F (shelved at Fantasy Dragon)

MY FUNNY VALENTINE

The color red is popping up everywhere.  Chocolatiers and florists are stocking up on heart-shaped boxes and long-stemmed red roses.  Stores are cramming their shelves full of foil hearts and teddies.  Greeting card store owners are rubbing their hands together with glee.  Yes, the Big Holiday approaches... V-Day

As a romance blogger facing my first Valentine's Day posting, I've been feeling the pressure.  Love or hate the holiday, everyone will have romance on their minds to some extent-- what to write?  Then it occurred to me: I'm not the only one stressing about this holiday.  Lonely hearts (or perfectly content singles) have the strain of being solo on a holiday for couples.  Couples are under pressure to be romantic on demand (and since when does Cupid ever stick to a schedule?).  I scanned my shelves.  Could there be an antidote for all this stress? 

NEW ROMANCE FICTION FOR JANUARY 2010

In paperback:

Scorched by Sharon Ashwood (2, The Dark Forgotten) C, S, M
A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh (6, Dark Angel) H, M
Then Comes Baby by Helen Brenna (3, Harlequin SuperRomance: An Island to Remember) C
Finding the Lost by Shannon K. Butcher (2, Sentinel Wars) C, S
Captive of Sin by Anna Campbell H
Winter Kiss by Deborah Cooke (4, Dragonfire) C, F, S
Divorced, Desperate and Deceived by Christie Craig (3, Divorced, Desperate) C
It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale C
Seducing the Heiress by Olivia Drake (1, An Heiress in London) H
The Care and Taming of a Rogue by Suzanne Enoch H

NEW SPECULATIVE FICTION FOR JANUARY 2010

New to our shelves:

Year of the Horse by Justin Allen F, H
Mariposa by Greg Bear (2, Quantico) SF
A Case of Conscience by James Blish SF
Elegy Beach: A Book of Change by Steven R. Boyett (2, Ariel) F
First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher (6, Codex Alera) F
Isis by Douglas Clegg H
The Gates by John Connolly F, H
Puttering about in a Small Land by Philip K. Dick SF
The Variable Man and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick (1, The Early Work of Philip K. Dick) SF
Makers by Cory Doctorow SF
This Crooked Way by James Enge (2, Morlock Ambrosius) SF

ONCE UPON A TIME: FAIRY TALES RETOLD

There are certain stories that we never forget.  Fairy tales sleep inside of us, waiting to be rediscovered like flowers that have been dried and pressed between the pages of a book.  No matter how long it's been since we left our childhood behind, these stories lie ready to live and bloom again in our imaginations.  With the smallest reminder, we are magically transported back to a place out of time where anything is possible: serving girls can become princesses, princes can become monsters, animals can speak, true love can break any curse, and one always, always gets exactly what one deserves.  Is it any wonder, then, that the "fairy tale retold" is such a popular motif in fantasy fiction? 

OH, THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL...

Alright, let's face it: unless you've gone the way of the snowbirds for your winter vacation, it's COLD out there!  As much as I love skiing and skating, there's something about deep-freeze cold that just makes me want to curl up with a fuzzy blanket, a hot cup of tea, and a nice, cozy read. 

It's a bit chilly between the covers of this month's titles, too, and the characters are-- well, they're with me on the fuzzy blanket part, at least.  (I'm sure they're only sharing to conserve warmth.)  If you're looking for a good book for your own winter snuggle, I recommend one from the list below.  Whether they warm your heart or heat your cheeks, these winter romances will help keep you toasty!

THE HEAT IS ON: SF LOOKS AT OUR (POSSIBLE) FUTURE

Science fiction is not all alien planets and galaxies far, far away.  Often, the strange new world at the heart of the plot is this one-- Earth.  What unknown terrain could be more fascinating to us than what our own home might look like in the distant (or not-so-distant) future?  What species could be more compelling than the one we might become?  Through science fiction, we can explore how humanity might affect its own future and how that future could in turn affect us. 

But it's not always about looking forward; future-Earth sci fi is often as much a commentary on our present as it is an exploration of our future.  A popular plot concept is to take a current trend or issue, project a future in which it has become commonplace (or has run amok!), and examine how humanity might adapt to the changes it brings about.  Looking at an issue in this way can sometimes offer us a bit of perspective when otherwise we might be too close to examine it objectively.  (Of course, it can also be sheer escapist entertainment, but hey, that's fun, too.) 

Syndicate content