Linda Stevens's blog

Stop Right There

When recommending books to people, I've found that what a person does not like is almost as important as what they do like.  I read a tremendous number of books, usually 3 or 4 a week, from various genres.  I read even more book reviews and descriptions of books and blog posts about books and book catalogs.  Still, there are certain title words or plot points that will make me stop immediately, knowing that this is not a book for me -- particularly in the romance genre.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with the book, it is just not one that matches my tastes.  In fact, isn't it better that the title or the blurb on the back of the book gives you a clear signal of appeal?

HCPL Friends: Birdies for Charity

As budgets get smaller, the financial support of the Harris County Friends of the Library becomes more important then ever to our libraries.  The Friends help pay for the summer reading programs, staff scholarships, program refreshments and ebooks for the collection.  Over the last five years, they have donated over $15,000 to help fund services at county libraries.  

The primary fundraiser of the Harris County Friends of the Library has been a wonderful program run by the Houston Golf Association called Birdies for Charity.  It is centered on the Shell Houston Open but you don't have to golf at all for a chance to win a car, just be willing to donate to your favorite cause, Harris County Friends of the Library.  One hundred percent of your pledge goes to help libraries.  The HGA takes care of collecting and then distributing the money without taking out a penny.

Romance on the Road

it happened one nightI don't think I'm the only one whose thoughts have turned to spring breaks and vacations.  Since I won't be taking one next month, I thought I'd escape on a fictional vacation and celebrate the road trip romance.  Remember the movies It Happened One Night or Romancing the Stone?  Think of those in book form:  a (usually harrowing) physical journey is accompanied by an emotional journey, played for either laughs or adventure.  I particularly enjoy the historical versions, because you're travelling though another time, as well as another place.

Series Titles Worth the Wait

clocksWhen you are a dedicated series reader, over time you notice that certain recurring characters seem to take on extra life.  They pop up more frequently and always get the best lines.  They are endearing and engaging.  They find a special place in your reading heart.

That's why one of my pet peeves as a romance series reader is to finally get to one of these stories and it doesn't seem worthy of the character who inspired it.

Not to despair!  I read two series titles last week that avoided this problem entirely -- they were worth the wait.

Pick Up HCPL Items at the Texas Medical Center Library

tmc libraryIt’s not always easy navigating the area around the Texas Medical Center, so HCPL and the TMC Library hope to reduce daily stress for those who work or seek treatment in the Medical Center with the availability of public library items for pick-up and browsing in the TMC Library.

Romance Roundup 2011

scandalous desiresIt's the time of year when everyone is making their "best of" lists for any given topic.  Why should I be any different?  The books listed below are the romance books I liked the most that were published in 2011.  It looks like it was a good year for historical romances for me, with a smattering of paranormal and suspense.  What about you?  Any favorite romances from this year that you'd like to share?

Scene Stealing Pets in Romance

animal attractionI'll readily admit that I'm the sort of person who carries on conversations with the dogs and finds herself unable to look away from those incredibly sad SPCA commercials, even while sobbing.  So, obviously I am predisposed to like books with animals in them.  While I was reading the latest Jill Shalvis book, Animal Attraction, set in a busy veterinary clinic, I realized just how much the charm of the different animals enhanced my enjoyment of the book.  I loved the kitten who responded to all remarks with "mew" and the parrot who seemed to repeat the most embarrassing part of any conversation he overheard.    As I started thinking about it, there were many other books that joined the list in my head that featured scene stealing pets.

Romance Read-Alikes

in bed with a highlanderYou can probably figure it out without a definition, but a read-alike is a book or series that shares a commonality with another book or series that might appeal to the same reader.  It could be a similar tone, setting, depth of characterization or type of plot.  A good read-alike connects the elements you enjoy through different books and authors.

True Love: A Girl and Her Kindle

enchantedI was overjoyed last week at the announcement that library eBooks would now be compatible with my Kindle.  After many years of believing that I would always be a "paper" reading person, I broke down and got the Kindle last year. I fast became addicted to the instant gratification of being able to quickly download my reading material, no matter the time or place.  With library checkouts here, maybe my entire paycheck won't have to go to Amazon.

So, as soon as I could, I started going through the Digital Media Catalog, ready to snap up some new titles.  Since eBooks are very popular, I need to wait in line for the hottest titles, just like everyone else.  While I am waiting, I discovered that there is a very good selection of classic romance titles available for my entertainment. 

Does the Point of View Matter to You?

rebeccaI recently saw a copy of an old series romance I liked when I was a teenager in a used bookstore, and decided to pick it up to see if we were still compatible when aged by a couple of decades.  There were truly some cringe-worthy moments in the book, but clothing and hairstyles and cultural attitudes weren't the reasons I no longer connected with the material. I realized that most modern romances feature multiple points of view and this book was only giving me the story through the eyes of one character, the heroine.  I am a nosy person.  I like to know what all of the characters are thinking and feeling, even the villains.  When I only had one viewpoint, I felt too distant from all of the other characters.  I think this is a phenomena peculiar to romance readers, but I could be wrong.  Is this only me?

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