Linda Stevens's blog

Delightful Romantic Comedy

rosie projectNormally, I write about books that live strictly in the romance genre and about topics more than specific titles.  I recently finished one that is making me break out of my rut and post a review of a book that is more fiction than romance -- The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion.  Imagine the character of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory was Australian and actually someone interested in finding a wife. Then set him in a romantic comedy worthy of Richard Curtis.  I found this book to be that funny and cinematic -- I think it is actually already optioned to become a film.

New Adult Romance at the Library

beautiful disasterHave you noticed the sudden increase in the number and popularity of books about people who are no longer high schoolers, but not quite grown-ups?  It has been such a publishing phenomenon that those of us who like to categorize things came up with a genre label -- New Adult.  Usually these books feature main characters between 18 and 25, just discovering who they are and what they might want out of life.  

I could no longer even be considered a new-ish adult, but I have tried and enjoyed a few of these titles.  They are usually dramatic and intense, most dealing with overcoming a serious trauma or circumstance and becoming involved in a tumultuous relationship.

Introducing HCPL eSelect: Our Exclusive New eBook Collection

eselectHarris County Public Library is proud to introduce HCPL eSelect, an exclusive new eBook collection made up of titles purchased directly from independent authors and publishers. The items in this collection are owned and managed by HCPL, so they can be directly checked out from the library’s catalog and are listed in your main library account with any other paper books, DVDs or CDs you borrow.

HCPL’s eBooks are so popular that over 637,000 were checked out last year – about the same circulation as one of the system’s largest physical libraries. Most of us already know about the popularity of eBooks.  What you might not know is that many major publishers won’t sell their eBooks to libraries. By working directly with independent authors and publishers, HCPL is able to expand our collection and increase the variety and value of materials available for library cardholders.

Short and Sweet

governess affairI'm going to just come right out and admit it -- I am a fan of the novella.  There are some nights I come home tired and simply want to relax and read a book I can finish before I go to bed.  It seems like novellas have been experiencing a boom in popularity lately, particularly in eBook format.  Some are part of a theme, stories based on a holiday or a love of pets, for example.  Some bookend a series, giving a glimpse into the beginning or the end of a story.  Some occupy the same world as a popular series, but completely stand on their own.  So, there's bound to be something to appeal to your reading tastes and limited schedule.

Have Book - Will Travel to a Desert Island

It happened so fast, but we're in the final week of summer reading!  We've all heard a form of this question, but this week we're wondering what book you'd take with you to keep you company while you were stuck on a desert island.  Even though I've had time to think about this, I must admit that I'm still not sure what my book will be this week.  ONE book?  Unfathomable!

Will it be the book that holds my all-time re-reading record, Pride and Prejudice?  Little Women or Ramona the Pest?  Return of the King, so that I can experience closure?  Right Ho, Jeeves, because you would need to laugh, stuck on an island?  The World Book Encyclopedia, so maybe I would learn something?  Would it be cheating to say the entire Harry Potter series?  I've got some thinking to do.

I hope your choice is easier and that you've enjoyed the Amazing Read challenges this summer.  Don't forget to share your experiences and log your books by August 17th to be eligible for prize drawings.  Happy reading!

Don't Miss Out On Summer Reading Fun

sharpie tie dyeThere's still time to sign up for summer reading -- registration runs through Saturday, August 10th!  Prize drawings for each age group will be done on Monday, August 19th, among participants who have completed the program.  Check out the celebrations at your local library this week.  Don't miss out!

  • Babies -- Drawings for Toddler Rkindle paperwhite winnereading Hats at each Branch
  • Children -- Drawings for Plush Traveling Giraffes at each Branch
  • Teens -- Drawings for Book Stuffed Backpacks at each Branch
  • Adults -- Drawings for Amazon Gift Cards at each Branch, plus Grand Prize Drawings

Thanks to Harris County Friends of the Library for funding prize drawings and thanks to all of our summer reading sponsors and partners for their generous contributions!

We Have a Winner at Maud Marks Branch Library

asrp winnerCongratulations to Katie, a reader at the Maud Marks Branch Library!  Katie is the second winner in the eReader drawings for adult Summer Reading participants and is pictured here with her brand new Kindle Paperwhite.  Don't miss your chance to be a drawing winner before the end of summer.  Register for the adult program by Saturday, August 10th and complete the program to be eligible for one of the two grand prize drawings of a Kindle Fire.  Thanks to the Harris County Friends of the Library for their generous donation of prizes for all HCPL Summer Reading programs.

Sailing the Iron Seas

rivetedWhile I'm waiting in line for a copy of Riveted by Meljean Brook, I decided to re-read the first two full length books in the Iron Seas series, The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel.  This created a spectacular episode of binge reading.  I discovered that, in addition to the two titles mentioned, there are several novellas set in this incredibly imaginative world, where the reader will experience recognizable bits of history and Europe paired with airships and zombies and people made up of fantastic mechanical bits.  Of course, I had to read those, too.

We're Having Summer Reading Fun All Over

Not only is it heating up outside, the summer reading fun is heating up in library branches all over Harris County.  We have reading encouragement activities and prizes for signing up and meeting your reading goal, plus we've got fun events of all types happening at your local branch almost every day.  Take a look at your local calendar to see what's happening now.

It could be a pizza making party,           or storytime yoga,

pizza makingstorytime yoga

Have Book - Will Eat, Amazing Read Challenge Week 4

amazing readI can't believe we're already in week four of the Amazing Read.  I hope you've had a chance to keep up, because I'm going to up the ante this week and read two books for the theme, Have Book -- Will Eat.  I'm going to try Anthony Bourdain's book Medium Raw in the nonfiction category and revisit one of my favorite food books of all time, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  My plans also include consuming way too many snacks at the same time, so I'm obviously still not getting Mr. Dahl's point. Maybe this time.

big mouthWhat are you going to read?  Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel?  Big Mouth by Deborah Halverson?  Babies Can't Eat Kimchee! by Nancy Patz and Susan L. Roth?  Bobby Flay's Barbeque Addiction?  We’d love to hear what you’re reading, so consider sharing with us through your Summer Reading Program log, by commenting on this post, or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

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