Linda Stevens's blog

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.

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?

Gulf Coast Reads One Amazing Thing

one amazing thingGulf Coast Reads: On the Same Page is an exciting new initiative supporting community reading and discussion that will be held each September.  This program replaces and expands the Big Read and Books on the Bayou programs from previous years and brings together libraries and community groups from Houston, Harris County and surrounding counties.

The premise of the program is that people living in Harris County and the surrounding areas along the gulf coast will all read the same book at the same time, generating discussion among co-workers, friends, families and classrooms. The goal of Gulf Coast Reads is to cultivate a culture of reading in the local area by encouraging people to come together in libraries, bookstores, community centers, homes, churches, and schools to discuss the book. 

This year’s selection is One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.   This book was selected because it shows that culturally diverse people can come together during their collective struggle to overcome adversity. In a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the characters in the book each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before.  The novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself.  We invite you to share your "one amazing thing" story on the Gulf Coast Reads website.

New Releases in Romance

canyons of the nightPerhaps my perception is off, but it seems like August and September are full of an extra helping of new release romance goodness.  Take a look through the list below and see if one of your favorite authors has a book hot off the presses or the eBook equivalent.  Maybe there's one you forgot about and you can place your hold today!


Escape the Heat at Your Local HCPL Branch

reading at evWith temperatures often in the triple digits these days, we invite you to cool off at any of our branches. All branches have air conditioning and plenty of places to sit and relax. You might want to peruse our collection of books, DVDs, and audios, take a free computer class or bring your child to storytime. All branches offer a variety of programming this summer to expand your mind and help keep you cool.

County health officials offer these tips to keep cool:

Are Dragons the New Vampires?

Okay, I don't really think dragon romances are going to become as popular as vampire romances.  But, there are several excellent new series featuring dragons available from the library and I wanted to bring them to your attention.  I actually think the fantasy/urban fantasy romance blend has overtaken the vampires in popularity, and I consider the dragon books part of that trend.

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