May 252018
 

Cover of Brief Cases by Jim Butcher.Locus: This new collection in the Dresden Files series offers 12 entertaining stories, some real gems. Three of my favorites, previously collected as Working for Bigfoot, are relatively light stories about Harry and a sasquatch who needs help for his half-human son. Several take the viewpoint of characters other than Harry Dresden, with a couple of standouts featuring Harry’s apprentice Molly, who gets all dressed up to rescue Harry’s brother Thomas from svartalves and Fomor in “Bombshells” and then gets sent off to Alaska in her role as Winter Lady of the Fae for the more harrowing “Cold Case” with Lovecraftian overtones. “Day One” finds medical examiner Waldo Butters on his first mission as a Knight of the Cross, battling necromancers in ways that involve his love of gaming and polka.

The collection wraps up with the one original tale, the charming novella “Zoo Day”, about Harry trying to be a dad, with a day at the zoo with his daughter Maggie and his magical dog Mouse, with everyone doing their best to make it a good outing until magical threats interfere. First Harry narrates, as he goes off to deal with a teen warlock, then Maggie takes over in an encounter with “creeps” only kids can see, and then Mouse tells about a battle of his own – and only Mouse is really aware of what the others are doing, too, providing a charmingly different viewpoint that sums it all up nicely.

Butcher adds some insight into his process with amusing and revealing notes on the stories and characters.

May 242018
 

Author photo of Sue Burke.Sue Burke’s SEMIOSIS: PAX, a sequel to SEMIOSIS, in which Earth sends new emissaries to the planet Pax, the planet where plants are the dominant intelligent species, and an untitled novel about perfect human clones and their struggle to fit into an imperfect world, again to Jennifer Gunnels at Tor, by Jennie Goloboy.

May 232018
 

Cover of The Great Bastards by Jonathan French.Publishers Weekly: French’s half-orcs, halflings, centaurs, and others have rich histories and folklore, giving the work depth while never getting in the way of the fun. This is excellent fantasy fare on all levels.

May 222018
 

Cover of Still So Strange by Amanda Downum.Still So Strange is Amanda Downum’s first collection of short fiction and poetry. These stories are full of devil’s bargains, love songs to monsters, and the people—human and otherwise—who inhabit liminal spaces. The collection includes stories originally released in Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, and Weird Tales, as well as previously unpublished work.

May 222018
 

Cover of Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley.Megan Harper is the girl before.

All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are. and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theater, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production.

It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script. Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

May 222018
 

Cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells.DMLA congratulates Martha Wells! All Systems Red, Book 1 of the Murderbot Diaries, won a Nebula Award for the Novella category!

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid ― a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

May 222018
 

Cover of The Amish Suitor by Jo Ann Brown.The Amish Spinster Club series begins!

With his orphaned nephew depending on him, Amish carpenter Eli Troyer moves to Harmony Creek Hollow to start over. And when schoolteacher Miriam Hartz offers to teach Eli, who is hard of hearing, how to read lips, he can’t refuse. Spending time with Miriam forges a bond between them. Can two wounded hearts overcome their pasts to make a family together?

May 212018
 
Author photo of Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley.

Photo credit: Sue Grubman

Dana Leydig at Puffin has acquired two novels by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley. The first, As We Go Forth, is a contemporary romance told in alternating perspectives; it features Juniper and Fitz, two high school seniors with vastly different views about the future, who meet unexpectedly on their respective college tours. Publication is planned for spring 2020; Katie Shea Boutillier negotiated the deal for world English rights.

May 182018
 

Cover of Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.RT Book Reviews: Much like the anxiety-ridden but good-hearted Murderbot itself, this series is a delight, carefully balancing snark and other humor without ever concealing (or even really trying to conceal) the real and serious character work and emotional intensity that’s at work here.

Wells doesn’t downplay the trauma and existential questions [that] underpin parts of the story, but also keeps it swift-moving and delightful, partly by respecting those aspects of the story instead of trying to gloss over them.

As before, Murderbot makes for a wonderful protagonist and narrative voice, one of the most compelling reluctant heroes science fiction has seen in a while.

May 172018
 

Cover of Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley.School Library Journal: Megan Harper has always played a supporting character in her own life. Every boyfriend she has had has found a better match right after breaking up with her.

Megan has one true passion in life: directing theater productions. She is excited to hopefully attend a local theater program for college, but first she must get an acting credit. She hopes for a small role, but is surprised when she is cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, opposite her best friend’s boyfriend who also happens to be Megan’s most recent ex. When she falls for a stagehand named Will, she enlists the help of her new friend Owen Okita to land the new guy. It’s Owen, however, who truly sees Megan for who she is.

Megan is no wallflower and she doesn’t subscribe to any conventions when it comes to romance and sex. She is a direct young woman who doesn’t play games but also doesn’t yet know what she really wants. The diverse cast includes a Japanese American love interest and a black, gay friend who struggles in a relationship with a boy who is still in the closet, in addition to the white female lead.

A delightful, light romance readers won’t be able to put down.