Linda Stevens's blog

Moonlight & Mistletoe: Holiday Romance Reads

There's nothing that speeds along the blossoming of your annual holiday spirit like a heartwarming festive story.  Probably because it's a genre that's all about the heart, you'll find no shortage of these in the romance category.  From series titles to bestselling authors, there's something for everyone, so put away your inner Grinch and pick up a novel full of holiday cheer!

Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick & Courtney Milan 

Cowboy Christmas by Janette Kenny

Movie History

citizen kaneLike many movie buffs, I've been glued to the TV set each Monday for the past few weeks to catch Moguls and Movie Stars: a History of Hollywood on TCM.  The series goes decade by decade through the development of motion pictures, from 1889-1969, and each episode has inspired me to revisit old favorites and explore other landmark movies that I somehow never managed to see.  Last night's episode was particularly interesting, focusing on World War II efforts and the development of a social conscience at the theater.  I've got at least a week's worth of self-programming as a result.

Old School Romance Reading

I don't mean the "old school" romance writing style of the 1970s type with a bosomy cover and the word "savage" in the title.  I'm referring to the fact that I find that there are some authors whose earlier books I really liked, but their more recent books do not appeal to me.  Either they moved settings from historical to contemporary, they upped the suspense and dialed down the romance, they moved into a new genre, or their style somehow inexplicably changed.  Many became even more successful, so they probably appealed to more readers with their changes.  It's all a matter of personal reading preference. 

Wondering What to Read Next? Put Book Hunters on the Case


Not many people know good books better than librarians, though not all people agree on what makes a good book.  It's all about making the right match.  We'd like to offer our expertise in a new personalized service that connects readers with the books we think they will enjoy the most.

Perhaps you read much faster than your favorite authors can write new books.  It could be that you are overwhelmed by the number of book choices available in each genre.  Maybe you would like to encourage your teenager to read for pleasure, but have no knowledge about teen authors.  Whatever the reason, if you need any kind of reading advice, the HCPL Book Hunters can help!

Festival Fun at the South Houston Library

This year's HCPL Hispanic Heritage Festival was held at the South Houston Branch Library on September 25th.  As  you can see in the pictures below, a great time was had by all in attendance.  Special thanks go out to Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia, the South Houston Library Friends, community partners and the South Houston Library staff!



Love and Laughs

Having long been a fan of the screwball comedy, I enjoy finding romance novels that feature many of the same laugh-out-loud characteristics.  You'll find the delightfully familiar kooky protagonists with love/hate issues, the gleefully eccentric secondary characters, the compounding misunderstandings, and the physical pratfalls, all tied together with sharp dialogue.  If you would like to try some laughs with your romance, why not try one of the titles below?lady be good

Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Lady Emma Wells-Finch has come to Texas to finally find some trouble and pro golfer Kenny Traveler is finally trying to avoid it.  When Kenny is blackmailed into chauffeuring Emma around town, he has to try to bail her out of one wacky situation after another.

HCPL Receives "A Place for All People" Award from MFAH

place for all people award 2010

Harris County Public Library was honored to receive one of the First Annual "A Place for All People" awards from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on September 15, 2010.  The "A Place for All People" award honors select partners whose mission, goals and work reflect and complement that of the museum.  "MFAH partners share a longstanding commitment to the Houston community and a belief in the importance of arts in education as a part of a well-rounded life, for all," said Victoria Ramirez, W.T. and Louise J. Moran Education Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Inspired by Arthur


I have always been a fan of the different stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  Rosemary Sutcliff, Mary Stewart, T.H. White, Marion Zimmer Bradley, I read them all, even Malory and Chretien de Troyes in college.  They are very romantic tales, in fact, the word romance as we are using it here derives from the medieval tales of knights and adventure written in the French language.  But the actual romances; Arthur and Guenevere, Lancelot and Guenevere, Lancelot and Elaine, Tristan and Iseult, Arthur and Morgause, Merlin and Nimue, well, you get the picture.  All pretty tragic stuff.

Bring On the Tortured Heroes

Thank you, Charlotte Brontë! If you hadn't created Mr. Rochester to be not very handsome, but mysterious, with a dissolute past, a strange sense of humor, and a honking big secret (not to mention the consequences of his ultimate trip through the fire), we might not be reading books featuring the modern romance version of the tortured hero. This character may have often suffered physical or emotional abuse, complete with internal or external scarring; he probably seems like an outsider, mysterious and/or dangerous, and still carries some pain within. So, what's the appeal? Next to him, the well-adjusted boy next door seems, well, boring.

Share Your Opinion About Summer Programs

srp 2010 posterWe'd like to hear your opinions about this year's Summer Reading Programs.  This year's Children's, Teen and Adult programs just ended and we'd like to encourage you to take our Summer Reading 2010 survey to assist us as we begin planning for next year.  The survey will be open through August 27th and paper copies are available in the library branches, if you prefer that format.  Help us make next year's programs the best yet!


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