Linda Stevens's blog

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.

Do You Watch Book Trailers?

What is a book trailer, you ask?  Imagine the promos you see for upcoming films when you go to the theater, only these are promoting upcoming books and are viewed online.  They cover a wide range of book categories and a wide range of video capabilities, but some of them are funny, well-made and intriguing.  The book trailer embedded below is for Sherrilyn Kenyon's most recent Dark Hunters book, No Mercy:  

What do you think?  Embarassing or enticing?  Would a book trailer convince you to try something you might not normally read?

Countdown to Summer Reading

dig up a good bookEveryone is invited to "Dig Up a Good Book" this summer with HCPL summer reading programs for the entire family.  The fun begins Friday, June 3rd and runs through Friday, August 5th Saturday, August 6th, but you can set up your account starting May 31st if you would like a few extra days before you begin logging the books you read.  Registration and reading logs are online, but we encourage you to check out the events calendar and visit your local branch to take part in the great free family entertainment happening all summer long. 

Romance Family Sagas

hidden awayLast weekend I was scarfing down the books in Maya Banks' KGI series as if they were bonbons and I paused for a moment to wonder about the source of their appeal.  I started reading the first book because I was in the mood for a military/adventure type of romance, but by the time I finished that one and drove to the nearest bookstore to buy the next two, I was caught up in the story of the family.  It made me think of how many series I've made my way through because I really liked the characters in a family, I wanted to find out what happened in all of their imaginary lives, and I just wanted to spend more time with them.

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