Category Archives: Genres

Romance Readers’ Advisory

Romance is one of the biggest genre in fiction. You got historical, thrillers, horrors, werewolves, vampires, cozy mysteries, fairies, modern-day, futuristic. The variety is simply endless. Romance novels follow the classic structure: lovers come together, they must overcome obstacles and then live happily ever after. Apart from that, anything goes. This immense diversity makes romance readers’ advisory quite challenging and interesting. But fear not, here are some resources to the rescue!

 

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Romance Readers’ Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide to Love in the Stacks by Ann Bouricius

This is a nice intro into the genre and its’ diversity.

 

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Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

Funny, smart, and throughout. This is a great examination of the genre.

 

The RITA Awards

The RITAs are given every year to those romance novels judge to be the best of best in their categories. For romance novels, this is THE AWARD.

 

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

Great blog dedicated to discussion on romance novels. Make sure to check out their podcast too!

 

AAA

Another fantastic blog dedicated enterally to reviewing romance novels. It’s Power Search is particularly brilliant! You can search by author, title, book type and more.

 

Goodreads Romance tags and Book Lists

Goodreads never disappoints and it’s a great resource to check out read-alikes as well as book reviews.

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New Historical Romance Releases

Springtime is just the time of year to fall in love with some new romance novels. I have a fondness for historical romances, and luckily a number of my favourite historical romance authors have recently released new books!

Cover of Listen to the Moon; a half-naked couple embrace

 

Rose Lerner, Listen to the Moon

This author focuses mostly on working class characters in the Regency era, and this book features a very proper valet-turned-butler and a happy-go-lucky house maid who enter a marriage of convenience to get employment at a local vicarage. Third in the Lively St. Lemeston series, but can be read as a standalone. Fun, sly, and steamy!

What else from this author: The rest of the Lively St. Lemeston series are refreshingly grounded in local politics rather than high society; try True Pretenses, which features a Jewish con man and a Tory heiress.

 

Cover of A Seditious Affair; a young man lies provocatively on a bed

KJ Charles, A Seditious Affair

A romance between a seditionist, radical bookseller and a conservative, privileged Tory, who both look forward to their weekly anonymous rendezvous – until they unexpectedly meet outside of the bedroom. The second in Charles’ early 19th century historical m/m romance series, Society of Gentlemen, and can be read as a standalone. Featuring power play, politics, revolution, and falling in love.

What else from this author: The third book in Society of Gentlemen was just released this month! It’ll be next on my list. Also check out The Magpie Lord, a historical fantasy m/m romance series.

 

Cover of Her Every Wish; a young woman in a green dress looks longingly into the distance

Courtney Milan, Her Every Wish

I will read anything Milan writes! This novella is part of her new Regency series, the Worth Saga, but can be read on its own. Our heroine enters her local parish’s competition for the prize for the best new business proposal, but she needs a bit of coaching on her presentation. Luckily, her old flame is just the man for the job. Featuring a bisexual mixed-race hero, working-class romance, entrepreneurial spirit, and a warm and sexy second chance romance.

What else from this author: The Suffragette Scandal in her Brothers Sinister series is one of my favourite historical romances, and her upcoming contemporary romance, with a transwoman as the heroine (Hold Me), is one I can’t wait to read.

 

Cover of Because of Miss Bridgerton; a young woman in a ballgown glances at herself in a mirror

Julia Quinn, Because of Miss Bridgerton

There’s probably no need to recommend Julia Quinn to anyone who’s already familiar with historical romances, but just in case: this is Quinn back on form and back with the Bridgerton family. This one features a heroine who is most comfortable outdoors managing her father’s estate and wearing breeches, and who clashes with the stuffy boy (well, okay, Earl) next door. Witty banter, smart characters, and a slow-burn romance.

What else from this author: Quinn’s prolific series of regency romances are popular for a reason! Try The Duke and I or Romancing Mister Bridgerton, both from the Bridgerton series.

 

A few other new(ish) historical romance releases:

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Romance Anthology, featuring stories by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley

Jeannie Lin, Clockwork Samurai (Gunpowder Chronicles #2)

Sarah MacLean, The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal and Scoundrel #1)

Theresa Romain, A Gentleman’s Game (Romance of the Turf #1)

What historical romances are you looking forward to?

RA in a Day Genre Guides

Every year at our RA in a Day workshop we run “Speed-Dating Through the Genres”, brief ten-minute long presentations about various genres of books. The presenters also create printable guides to the genres, which you can find right here on our website! We now have almost twenty different genres covered, so check them out!

This year we added four new genres, the handouts and presentations for which you can find below. Thanks to the presenters who created these guides and presentations!

Classics for English Language Learners by Anna Ferri

Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic Fiction by Sarah Dearman

Feminist Memoirs by Stephanie Hong

Personal Finance by Jenny Fry

Beyond the Hunger Games: A booklist for teens and adults

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If you saw my reading log, you wouldn’t think I’m well into my thirties. The fact is that I read a lot of children’s and teens’ books. I know books are written – and marketed – for specific target groups, but I believe any book has the potential to reach other audiences than the writers or publishers intended for. That’s especially true between young and older adults. There are many YA books that are also interesting to adults (hey, I LOVED The Hunger Games!) as well as lots of adult books that can spark teens’ attention too. For example, Kidsbooks bookstore in Vancouver label their adult section “teen plus”.

Lise Kreps (Adult services) teamed up with Rachel Yaroshuk (Teen services) to host a readers’ advisory event last month at the Burnaby Public Library’s McGill branch, where they recommended a list of books that could be enjoyed by either teens or adults. “A lot of teen fiction won’t interest adults, for example if it’s strictly about school & boyfriends, and not particularly well written. Likewise, adult books about middle-aged identity crises, no matter how well written, don’t interest most teens,” says Lise. “But there are now a lot of good writers creating really excellent books that just happen to be marketed to teens, and anyone can enjoy them.”

Sixteen people came on a Thursday evening: seven were teens. Lise was impressed by how well read the teens were, “they knew a lot of my books already!” They were also very eager to share their own suggestions. For future book talks, Lise says she would like to focus more on new books or really old ones, that the teens may not know yet.

The audience clearly enjoyed the session, as they reported on the feedback forms, and would like to attend similar events in the future. One person suggested that we also include e-books available among the recommendations.

Here’s a list of some of Lise’s and Rachel’s recommendations:

The Woefield Poultry Collective, by Susan Juby
(adult, contemporary, humour)

woefield-poultry-collectiveWelcome to Woefield Farm, a sprawling thirty acres of rock and scrub somewhere on Vancouver Island, complete with dilapidated buildings and a half-sheared sheep. When Prudence Burns, an energetic twenty-something New Yorker and failed YA author, inherits the farm, she arrives full of optimism and back-to-the-land idealism, but without a scrap of experience or skills. She also seems to have inherited Earl, a cranky old farmhand and banjo-player who’s hiding a family secret. They’re soon joined by Seth, the 20-year-old alcoholic, celebrity-blogging boy-next-door who hasn’t left the house since a scandal with his high school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a very focused eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow called Alec Baldwin. When Prudence discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on the property, she has to turn things around, fast – and a few wilting organic radishes won’t cut it. The four of them must pull together to become an unlikely family and find surprising ways to save Woefield. Sequel Republic of Dirt just published this spring.

What I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell
(teen, historic)

what i saw and how i liedNoir-ish mystery set in 1947, filled with plot twists. Fifteen-year-old Evie’s step-father Joe is back from World War II with a surprising amount of money, and starts a business. But he’s acting strange and drinking too much. Out of the blue he suddenly takes her and her mother for an extended visit to Florida. There, he is none too pleased to bump into his old army buddy, the charming and handsome Peter. Evie finds herself falling in love for the first time with Peter, whom she feels treats her like an adult. But very slowly she realizes she is being drawn into a complicated web of lies between the adults. After a boating accident results in a suspicious death, Evie has to testify at the inquest. She must rethink not only her romance with Peter but her relationships with her parents, as everything she thought she knew about all three of them is turned upside down. What I Saw and How I Lied won National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Traitor’s Blade, by Sebastien DeCastell
(adult, fantasy)

traitorsbladeThe King is dead and the Greatcoats are disbanded, leaving Falcio Val Mond and his two companions reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer use magic to plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening. With swashbuckling action and rapier wit reminiscent of a combination of the Three Musketeers, Game of Thrones, and Terry Pratchett, Traitor’s Blade is the first book in Sebastien de Castell’s dynamic new fantasy series, continuing in Knight’s Shadow coming out this summer.

Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve
(teen, historic)

hereliesarthurA riveting reimagining of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Merlin’s apprentice Gwyna, a scrawny orphan servant girl he finds hiding in a river to escape invading Saxons who destroyed her village. She seeks protection from the bard Myrddin, who uses Gwyna in his plan to spin tales transforming young Arthur from a local thug into the heroic King Arthur. Here Lies Arthur won the UK’s Carnegie award, and deserves to be known better.

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
(adult, memoir)

Persepolis-book-coverSatrapi’s autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl’s life under the Islamic Revolution. Descended from the last Emperor of Iran, Satrapi is nine when fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. While Satrapi’s radical parents and their community initially welcome the ouster, they soon learn a new brand of totalitarianism is taking over. Outspoken and intelligent, Marjane chafes at Iran’s increasingly conservative interpretation of Islamic law, especially as she grows into a bright and independent young woman.

Laughing at My Nightmare, by Shane Burcaw
(teen, memoir)

laughingnightmareWith acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a “you-only-live-once” perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.

The King Must Die, by Mary Renault
(adult, historic)

kingmustdieTheseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery – can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father’s sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus’s perilous journey to his father’s palace to claim his birthright, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. When Crete makes Athens send seven boys and seven girls as tributes to compete to the death in the Bull Ring, Theseus volunteers to go. (Sound familiar? This story inspired Suzanne Collins to write The Hunger Games.) Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story from Theseus’s own perspective as an ambitious, brave, and lusty young adventurer.

Art of Getting Stared At, by Laura Langston
(teen, contemporary)

art-getting-stared-atSixteen-year-old Sloane Kendrick is determined to produce a video in less than two weeks to get a film school scholarship. Unfortunately, she must work with Isaac Alexander, an irresponsible charmer with whom she shares an uneasy history. On the heels of this opportunity comes a horrifying discovery: a bald spot on her head. Horror gives way to devastation when Sloane is diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease has no cause, no cure, and no definitive outcome. Determined to produce her video, hide her condition, and resist Isaac’s easy charm, Sloane finds herself turning into the kind of person she has always mocked: someone obsessed with her looks. And just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Sloane is forced to make the most difficult decision of her life.

What other books would you add to this list?

Photo by Dan Foy, on Flickr, under Creative Commons license.

Ana Calabresi is an Auxiliary Librarian at Burnaby Public Library.

Librarians’ Choice at Burnaby Public Library

Avid readers are always looking for good reading recommendations. In the age of internet, social media, and sites like Goodreads, you might think that the opinions of librarians wouldn’t be of much interest to library users but, of course, the opposite is true. It’s important for librarians to recognize this and position themselves as a preferred source of inspired reading recommendations.

When I started working at the McGill branch of Burnaby Public Library several years ago, then Library Manager Barbara Jo May had been doing a book recommendation program for a couple of years, similar to her “Ain’t on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers List” sessions at BCLA conferences. Librarians delivered fast-paced reviews of recommended reads. I participated as a newbie to booktalking, and when Barabara Jo left I carried on coordinating the program.

We decided to call the program “Librarians’ Choice”. We use four librarians (including Information Clerks sometimes) and cover about twenty books in an evening. Each book review is about two minutes. Some popular titles are included, but the focus is more on the “under the radar” books that might otherwise be missed.

Two librarians start off and alternate, then we break for refreshments which gives staff a chance to chat with the attendees, then the next two librarians go on. We provide a booklist so the audience can follow along, and we have often observed patrons madly taking notes. We put display books in the room, and encourage people to browse and talk. The program takes ninety minutes, usually 7 pm to 8:30 pm and we pre-register.

I coordinated this program for four years at the McGill branch. The loyal following that Barbara Jo built up early on continued to grow. Our turnouts would range from 30 to 40 plus, with our International Mysteries evening going viral! Some events were themed — for example: Varieties of Love, Historical, Thrills and Adventure, Real Reads (non-fiction). But many events were a generic selection of mostly fiction with some non-fiction as well and promoted with reference to the seasons: Fall into Books; Winter Reads; Spring into Summer.

BPL-touch-of-mysteryWhen I moved to the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch a year ago, I discovered that the reading tastes are a little less eclectic than at McGill. Metrotown readers *love* mysteries, so we have so far hosted two mystery evenings at Metrotown, the first one also went viral so we had a full house; the second attracted 30 plus avid mystery readers. We are planning another mystery evening in the fall, and will try a general one in November. We are also planning to include DVD recommendations in at least some of our events. Librarians’ Choice also continues by popular demand at McGill with new librarians coordinating.

It is really gratifying to see people return to the library with their Librarians’ Choice lists as they read their way through the recommended titles. There is a real eagerness to get the inside scoop on what library staff are reading, and I think this is part of the appeal of this type of program. Also, avid readers just enjoy being at an event where something they love doing is celebrated.

And here is a little inspiration for library staff: I was on the Information Desk one day and a woman approached me and said “I just wanted to tell you how much I love the book events that you do. Reading is a solitary, introverted activity, and your events create community among readers.” Wow!

Georgina Flynn is the First Floor Information Desk Supervisor at Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch,
Burnaby Public Library

Surrey Libraries’ Book Advisors

We recently launched a Readers’ Advisory service at Surrey Libraries very loosely based on Multnomah County Library’s My Librarian. On our Recommended Reads page, patrons can now learn about the Surrey Libraries Book Advisors and their reading interests and send us an email for book recommendations. For example, see Book Advisor Naomi’s bio below

BookAdvisorNaomi

Book Advisor Naomi:

Pop culture, historical true crime, politics, fiction with vivid characters, graphic novels, thrillers, horror, science fiction, fantasy, teen fiction, classics, ESL Readers

I have a confession to make… I am a pop culture devotee. I love nothing better than to brew a cup of tea, cuddle down on a couch, and binge-watch a season of Empire with gossip blog breaks. My reading interests follow suit – give me the page-turners with the larger-than-life characters. Wherever the top is, this book better be over it. I want vivid characters to love or love to hate and plotlines steeped in melodrama. I also enjoy listening to podcasts covering pop culture, current events or comedy. I’d be happy to recommend a couple!

We are excited to interact with our readers in another capacity and to see where this program takes us! Unlike Multnomah, this project is not specially funded, so we will be hosting it on a smaller scale and adapting the program and evaluating it as we go along. Any questions? Please email bookadvisor@surrey.ca