New Release: Hidden Hearts, by @OliviaWrites

Lovestruck Librarians #6

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AN ADMIRER WITH A SECRET . . .

Mary Higgs could be the poster girl for the buttoned-up librarian. She follows the rules. Stays ʼtil closing. Her kindness and dedication to her patrons are legendary. But those patrons have no idea what she’s typing to the mysterious shut-in who emailed the library three months ago . . .

A year ago, Miles O’Connor was a gleaming, ab-sational star of the small screen. Then came the accident. Now he’s a wounded recluse with a pizza habit and fears so unshakable that only the thought of losing Mary to an online date could lure him out of his cabin.

Soon their email rapport has turned into weekends on the couch, watching tearjerkers and driving each other insane with red-hot makeout sessions. But as their desire grows and their horizons expand, the life that brought them together might not be enough for either of them . . .

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

Find out more:

Review: Broken Resolutions, by @oliviawrites

Title: Broken Resolutions (Lovestruck Librarians #1)
Author: Olivia Dade
Rating: 5/5 stars

“LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES

Romance has never had a happy ending for librarian Penny Callahan, who could write the book on cheating, heartbreaking liars. So she’s made a resolution: no men for the next twelve months. If she can just get through the library’s New Year’s Eve singles night, she can return home to her pajamas and a good book. But when she finds herself checking out a hot hunk with an irresistible smile, an evening in the stacks becomes a lot more tempting…

Reclusive author Jack Williamson never should have trusted his mother. Even though he’s trying to avoid being recognized, she guilts him into attending a dating meet-and-greet—where an adorable librarian makes him question his lonely lifestyle. Is this just a fleeting, flirty scene? Or could love be the next chapter for them both? (description from Goodreads)

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Broken Resolutions may be one of the best Twitter recommendations I’ve gotten in a long time. I asked the masses for romances with librarians, and got far more than I expected.

This novella has so much of what I look for in romances. A major surprise was the snow storm. I’ve somewhat recently realized that I really enjoy stories that take place during a storm because of how they tend to bring characters close together and force them to get to know each other. And they normally take place during the holidays, which brings out different aspects qualities in a character. A bonus for this book: Takes place on New Year’s Eve. I normally read Christmas stories. The other thing I enjoyed from this one and want to look for more in romances is that Penny is a librarian and it’s set in a library. This naturally grabs at my book-lover brain. There’s so much room for book references and feeling at home in a library. The author did a great job at writing this.

I really enjoyed the character’s Dade wrote into this book. This includes the secondary characters, not just the main ones. They were all great to read about, especially those with some more quirks than others.

Now that I’ve finished this book, I’m very curious where the rest of this series will go from here. With many first books in a series you can feel out who the next books will be about. Right now, I can only guess at two characters who could get a book. I like the mystery of who else might get their chance at a romance soon. I like that guessing game so much that I already bought the rest of the series. I think that’s a first for me, but I enjoyed Broken Resolutions that much.

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

Find out more:

Themed Book Recommendations: Library/Bookstore Romances

I recently finished a novella from Tiffany Reisz (which is in the list below) that sparked an idea. What are some romances (her’s is erotica and might not fully fix erotic romance? I’m not getting too picky on details…it was good!) with characters who work in libraries or bookstores? Books like that could open up the possibilities of book puns, references, and simply put me (and hopefully you) in a setting that I’m very comfortable in in real life.

You all should know by now that I’m a bookstore addict. I’ve also become a library addict since moving to Colorado. So much so that I now work in one of the local libraries.

While I know that there are many stereotypes of librarians out there that find their way into more erotic and entertainment-over-substance stories out there, I’m hoping the list I put together with the help of readers on Twitter avoids them. from my reading of the book descriptions they stay away from the stereotypes and instead include characters that just happen to live inside the categories I picked for today’s list.

So a big thank you to all of you from Twitter. This list, and my TBR would be much smaller without you. And for all those reading this right now, please comment with your own recommendations. I know there has to be more books out there for us to check out!

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Find something you might want to read? I hope so. Want to see another set of recommendations focused on a theme? Let me know what that theme is, and if you can help with some recs for it, include them in the message.

Happy reading!

#DNF’ing Books

DNFing a book, also known as “Did Not Finish”, isn’t a thing I do often. Every now and then, if a book is taking me a long time to read, I do DNF it. Most of the time I do so regrettably, though at other times, I do so with a sense of relief.

What causes a reader to put a book down? For me, there are a variety of reasons. As I said above, if it’s taking too long, that’s a good indicator that I’m not going to finish the book. This could be be cause I’m simply not getting into the book enough to read fast enough. Other times it’s because the book is just that bad, but I’d been trying to push through. To be fair, “bad” can mean a variety of things, even to one reader. Most of the times for me, it’s a relative term to my mood. Luckily, I haven’t come across too many books that are flat-out bad (as in poorly written, hard-to-stomach lack of polishing, etc). Some books just aren’t for every reader. It happens. We come across them, and we learn what we enjoy from these encounters.

So, why am I writing a post about DNF books? Well, I seem to be DNFing books a bit more often lately. This seems to be due to the fact that I now have access to a larger range of books than even my collection back in New York (total between NY and Colorado is now just over 2500 books, WOOT) holds. Meaning…I’m using my local library often, maybe too often. It’s the first time in my life I’ve regularly used a library. It’s addicting. You should all try it.

Now that I have access to many of the books that’ve been on my TBR for years, I’ve found that some weren’t worth the wait (for me, maybe not any of you). It’s a little sad because I’ve had high hopes for a few. But at the same time, it’s simply a new experience to deal with because I don’t own the books. I didn’t go out and buy them, whether full price or for a dollar used. It’s almost as if I never touched the book for a few of them. I took it out of the library, read 50 pages, brought it back. And I can just move on to the next. And an even greater thing: I can borrow it again a year from now and it might fit my reading mood better. Who knows.

What I’m getting at is that I find this whole borrowing books from the library thing to be a very liberating experience. It’s also a little overwhelming because I can create too large of a TBR by X date pile easily, but we can get into that in another post. When the financial and space aspect is taken away from reading, things work out differently. I never thought those two things factored into reading, but even on a subconscious level, I guess they were always there.

What are your DNF habits? Do you have a set page count before you can DNF? Do you not DNF and just push through? Every reader has their own way to go about things. I’d love to hear how you handle it.

Story Time Friday – A Bleak Future

Story Time Friday Banner

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I’ve had an idea floating in my head for a story for awhile now. It’s inspired by some dystopian, post-apocalyptic, etc type books I’ve read and have been reading. But when I sat down to put the idea on paper, this poem started forming instead.

I won’t reveal what the original idea was just yet. I might try to write the story some time soon. Instead, I’ll share this poem that’s a variation on the original idea. I think it could be fleshed out a bit more to explain things, but I think the poem as it is now isn’t lacking in too many areas. Just a few, maybe. If I’ll expand, it’ll be in prose form, along with the other story idea.

We’ll see what comes of all that. For now, enjoy The Keeper.

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The Keeper

 by Robert Zimmermann

I’m The Keeper.
I’m the last hope for
humanity in this time
of struggle. This time
for survival.

I’m The Keeper
of all of the knowledge
mankind has amassed
over millennia,
from countless civilizations,
from all the great thinkers
to those who thought their
cat was grumpier than the rest.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ve witnessed
humanity’s Golden Age
several times.
Just when it looked like
they couldn’t go any higher,
they did.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ve witnessed
the fall.
I’ve witnessed
the end.
I’ve witnessed
the loss of order,
civility, and finally
hope.

I’m The Keeper
and my makers are
no more.
The few survivors
went back into the trees,
like their ancestors before
them. Devolved, yet
surviving.

I’m The Keeper
and I have lost hope.
A machine, kept safe
underground.
Running perpetually
with the heartbeat
of Earth herself.
Here I’ll stay,
knowing humanity’s
descendents won’t find me.
They won’t unlock their history,
the secrets to a better future.

I’m The Keeper
and I’ll never give
again.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

Feed Your Reading Habit for Free…Legally

We all love books and we love to read. That’s why you’re here reading a book blog. Well, maybe you just stumbled upon this post and weren’t expecting it to be about books. I hope you stick around.

Having a reading habit is possibly one of the healthiest habits to have. However, with the benefits of a good book, comes financial burdens that put limits on what we can read or what we can eat. There is a light at the end of this tunnel though. Books don’t have to break your bank account!

It’s not a new concept to be able to read freely. Ever since the cost of producing books drastically decreased and they were made widely available, libraries of all kinds started popping up. In today’s world almost all of these libraries offer patrons the chance to read books for free. This is common knowledge, but there’s a point I’ll get to…

The great thing about living in the digital age of books is that readers aren’t tethered to the physical library any more. While the actual library is an important institution for any community (they aren’t there just for holding books, but offer many programs and events essential to their community), having libraries offer digital collections expands access and ease of patronage.

You may recall that earlier this year I finally got a library card, after being without one for many years. How many books have I taken out of the library so far? None. But, I have borrowed a handful of both ebooks and audiobooks from them. Without getting into the politics of libraries, for me, this is supporting my local branch as much as I can without transport to the building itself being easy to obtain. And at the same time, it’s access to free books to feed my reading habit.

An offshoot of the library that’s becoming more popular around the country, and I’m sure the world, is little free libraries. These are normally small enclosed bookshelves on sidewalks near a person’s home. You walk by and borrow a book and maybe add one of your own to the collection, or bring one back when you’re done reading. It’s a great way to get people reading a variety of books, and to maybe give away some books from your collection you think can find a better home through a free library. I found out that there’s one not too far from my library, in town, and while it’s out of the main flow of foot traffic, I hope it has a steady flow of readers visiting it.

Maybe libraries aren’t the way you want to go. Maybe you want to “own” books and go back to them whenever you want. Here’s where ebooks and audiobooks come back into the conversation. There are many resources online to obtain free digital books and I’ll list out a few for you to check out. And don’t worry. These are all legal sites. With a combination of using sites from this list and use of your local library, there’s no reason why piracy should look appetizing. The resources are there to read at little to no cost, so why not keep it legal.

  • PROJECT GUTENBERG – I’m sure many of you have heard about Project Gutenberg. This is the ultimate site for free ebooks online. The only limitation is that the books are all from pre-1923 (with a few exceptions). So if you’re looking for a classic book, 99.999% of the time you’ll find it here. It’ll also be in any digital format you need. The reason these are all free, and legally so, is because PG is populated with public domain (out of copyright) books. Many libraries, Amazon, and other major retailers will also have these versions loaded onto their sites. (note that this is for public domain books in the US. Each country has their own laws and I think a site for themselves. I know Australia has one with different titles than the US site.)
  • LIBRIVOX.ORG – Think of this as the audiobook equivalent of Gutenberg. This site is filled with all the public domain books narrated by volunteer readers. It’s one of the ways I’ve gotten through many classic books. And we all know how expensive audiobooks can be. Free narrations are a blessing, and these volunteers are doing readers a great service.
  • AMAZON, B&N, KOBO, SMASHWORDS, ETC -I already mentioned that these sites are loaded with the public domain books for free. And we all probably know what I’ll say next: There are THOUSANDS of free books from legit retailers, like those listed above. I didn’t bother with linking because it’s easier to let you search for yourselves. Want a book in a specific genre? Search it, and sort low-to-high by price. Want to see if an author’s offering books for free? Search the author, sort, again. It’s simply and a great way to discover new authors. I know many of my favorite authors came from discovering them randomly like this. Yes, you will have to weed through a lot of duds, however you’d like to do that is up to you. I’m not being judgmental in this post. Helping weed the garden of books is a topic for another day.
  • (Another topic for another day is subscription services. For example Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Just to touch on it briefly…don’t come to me telling me your book is “#Free on #KU” because it’s not. It’s “free” because someone paid the $9.99 each month to use the service. Don’t falsely advertise that. Just tell is like it is. *rant over*)

Are there more places to get legal free books? Of course. I only touched the major ones that I use almost every day. I barely have an income. I make a few cents a month by selling my books, when I sell them. We all need a little help sometimes, so go out and explore the free book world. I know it’s the only way I was able to jump into the book world as deep as I have. My print collection may be massive, but it was also years of work, and filled with mostly cheap used books. Nothing to be ashamed of. Reading is reading. And if we don’t feed our habits, we might do something drastic…like turn on a TV *gasp*

I went to the #library yesterday…

Yep, that is correct. I stepped inside of the local library yesterday…and I got myself a library card. This is something of a biggish deal because in the past I was never a big fan of libraries.

Don’t get me wrong. Libraries are great. They’re great for book lovers. They’re great for communities, etc. It’s just that I have this thing about not owning a book that I read. Need proof? Check out my book collection. I don’t like getting rid of them or even sharing in most cases.

Despite this, I’ve been pushing the use of libraries on many friends in recent months when spending money becomes an issue for them. I’m not a total stranger to libraries, anyway. I used them in college…to get work done, but never actually checked a book out. (Thank you internet for your research capabilities.) Now with ebooks and digital audiobooks, libraries are in our homes, and I wanted to take advantage of what more and more people are already doing.

Ebook prices for traditionally published books are out of my budget most often than not. Audiobook prices are out of everyone’s budget. (I don’t know many people who can afford to feed their book need through audio.) Libraries are our way to cut down on our book spending while reading the books we want and supporting our libraries. And don’t forget that libraries have many other resources aside from the books. Go to your local library and find out what they offer.

So now, I have a card:

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Whited out the signature just in case someone wanted to try something fishy. Not that I really needed to do that, lol. And how’s that for a well-placed sticker? Convenient for the info at least.

And now I’ll be (hopefully) reading even more of a range of books since I don’t have to worry about the financial burden of buying books I don’t end up liking. I think I’ll start testing my reading boundaries more. I have been more conservative in what I buy in recent months, which is probably for the best. There are probably books on my shelves that I won’t end up liking. Those could be viewed as wasted money, but whatever, right? I’ll find someone to enjoy them somewhere down the road, and I’ll just get less random pics from now on. I’ll leave that up to my library reading instead. And I’ll be doing even more audio that I’ve already been doing.

Sounds like a win all around, to me. And I don’t even have to step into the library again unless there’s a physical book they don’t have in ebook form that I really want to read. Another win.

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Now, how about you go check out your local library (if you don’t already). They’ll be happy to have you stop by. Mine seemed happy to have me when I walked in. And if it’s just to get a card to borrow ebooks with, that can only be good for your reading life.

If you need more info on how to borrow ebooks (and audio) from your library, go to their site to find how to do so, or walk in next time you’re around. It’s fairly easy, even if Overdrive (the way most set up their borrowing) is a little cumbersome at times.

Let us hear in the comments your thoughts on libraries, borrowing books, and anything that might help others get the most out of their library experience. I barely touched on the positives that can come from a library in this post.