Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Here’s a snapshot of some of the many new releases in YA this week!

New Releases: ENCHANTED by Alethea Kontis. (Harcourt) It isn’t easy being the overlooked sibling to six older sisters. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, and her new friendship with an enchanted frog. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises. The prince returns intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. She distrusts her mysterious attraction to this prince almost as much as she distrusts the Rumbold himself, not to mention the twisted secrets in his past – and hers? Mystery, romance and magic in this charming, stand alone fairy tale retelling. HEMLOCK (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock. (HarperTeen) Mackenzie’s life has been turned upside down by the murder of her best friend Amy. Since her brutal killing, Amy has haunted Mac in her dreams. To end her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder and discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of her hometown of Hemlock. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the…

Marta Perry | The Challenge of Writing Amish Fiction
Author Guest / May 7, 2012

“Challenge?”  I noticed someone saying recently in a discussion of Amish fiction. “What’s challenging about that—just put a woman in a bonnet on the cover, throw in a horse and buggy, and you’re in!” If only it were really that easy! Despite the number of Amish books I’ve written, I faced what was for me a unique challenge in my latest book, HANNAH’S JOY, the sixth book in the Pleasant Valley Amish series. Hannah, I decided way back in the planning stages, was going to be a Mennonite whose family had drifted away from the faith. This would allow Hannah to be an Army widow who returns to Pleasant Valley after life on a military base, which gives an immediate and I hoped striking contrast between military culture and the non-violence of the Plain groups. And since I grew up around a number of Old Order Mennonite families, I should be able to write that aspect of the story without difficulty. Needless to say, I was wrong! I had forgotten more than I realized about my childhood friends, and to make the story real, I not only had to nail all of the tiny details of differences among Amish, horse-and-buggy…

Fresh Pick | SPILLED BLOOD by Brian Freeman
Fresh Pick / May 4, 2012

May 2012 On Sale: May 1, 2012 Featuring: Chris Hawk; Hannah Hawk 368 pages ISBN: 1402798121 EAN: 9781402798122 Hardcover $24.95  Add to Wish List Thriller Crime Buy at Gripping suspense Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman A taut thriller about two rural Minnesota towns locked in a deadly feud – and a teenage girl caught in the crossfire. Linked by the Spirit River, the two towns couldn’t be more different: in affluent Barron, a powerful and secretive scientific research corporation enriches its residents, while downriver in blue-collar St. Croix, victims of that company’s carcinogenic waste struggle to survive. The bad blood between the communities escalates into open warfare when the beautiful Ashlynn, daughter of the corporation’s president, is found shot dead – and a St. Croix girl, Olivia Hawk, is accused of the crime. Reluctantly, Olivia’s mother summons her estranged husband Christopher, a Minneapolis lawyer, to come defend his daughter. As Christopher struggles to unravel the mystery of Ashlynn’s murder and save his own daughter, he uncovers some ugly truths that endanger the residents of both towns. And looming over everything are the chilling, apocalyptic threats from a murderous psychopath known only as “Aquarius.” A long-time feud between two towns…

Mary Balogh | Gwen, Lady Muir, And The Survivors’ Club
Author Guest / May 4, 2012

When I wrote ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE (1999), I meant it to be the first book in a trilogy–for Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, his sister Gwen, the widowed Lady Muir, and their cousin, Lauren Edgeworth. However, I changed editor after the first book, and my new editor would not let me write Lauren’s story because she did not like her in the first book. I had to wait for an editor who would let me write her story–reader favorite A SUMMER TO REMEMBER (2002). That book, however, introduced the very haughty aristocratic family, the Bedwyns, and off I shot at a tangent and wrote the six SLIGHTLY BOOKS and then the related SIMPLY quartet. Poor Gwen languished as a minor character in a number of them. She was noticed, however. There was a mystery surrounding her. She limped heavily, as the result of a riding accident during her marriage–the same accident that caused her a miscarriage. And a year later her husband died after a fall in his own home. Readers wanted her story, and I wanted to write it. Finally the job is done! She finds her happily-ever-after in THE PROPOSAL, out in hardcover May 1, 2012. The…

Fresh Pick | THE BISHOP by Steven James
Fresh Pick / May 3, 2012

Patrick Bowers Files #4 December 2011 On Sale: December 6, 2011 Featuring: Patrick Bowers 512 pages ISBN: 0451235355 EAN: 9780451235350 Paperback (reprint)  Add to Wish List Thriller, Inspirational Fiction Mystery Buy at The Bishop by Steven James The Game Is On… FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers’s cutting-edge investigative techniques and impeccable logic are about to be pushed to the limit. Killers are on a bloody murder spree throughout the Northeast, with each crime a model of deadly perfection. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet- even as the killers hone their craft with every death… An exhilarating crime thriller that plunges to the depths of evil and the soul! Previous Picks

Grace Burrowes | Love, Honor and Torture
Author Guest / May 3, 2012

As romance authors, we’re often told to “Torture the hero!” Make him a deeply conflicted, wounded (irresistibly attractive) fellow, and spend the next 376 pages having the heroine drag him, entice him, lure him and goose him toward love and healing. I thus considered it required research to ask a bunch of guys how to bring a man to unbearable pain. Most of them looked at me like I was nuts, but my brother Dick—a hero in my eyes if ever there was one—said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.” I think he got it in one, and his advice has been tremendously useful. With LADY MAGGIE’S SECRET SCANDAL, I more or less knew what to do with my hero. Benjamin Hazlit has been living half a life, traveling under a nom de guerre to hide from a family scandal, hiding his parliamentary responsibilities, and hiding, generally from his right to pursue happiness. Benjamin feels responsible for the things that have gone wrong in his family, and has dedicated himself to making sure other families’ potential scandals are diffused quietly. And for his sins, Maggie Windham does, in fact, drag him kicking, screaming (and occasionally, um, kissing)…

Don’t miss YA releases for May 1, 2012.

Blockbusters and slow boilers, May has got it all. Here are books I’m most looking forward to this week. WHEN YOU WERE MINE – Rebecca Serle (Simon Pulse) In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…. BITTERBLUE – Kristin Cashore (Dial) The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers GRACELING and FIRE Eight years after GRACELING, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father lives on. When Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. And one of them holds…