Monique Flasch – The Joy of a Good Book Buzz

It’s Read-A-Romance Month.


Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo   |   RARM 2015 Calendar    |    RARM on Facebook

Today is Romance Librarian Day! We love librarians. They can have such a great influence on what we read. In the case of romance, it’s a great opportunity for librarians to let readers know they won’t ever be judged for their choices. Thankfully there are some pro-Romance librarians in this world, and today we have three! If you’re a librarian who loves romance (or a reader or writer who knows one who does), then I wanted to let you know there’s a facebook page where pro-Romance librarians share thoughts about publishing, libraries and romance.  You can find it here. Please share!

The Joy of a Romantic Buzz

I have drunken deep of joy, and I will taste no other wine tonight.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

When I recently read this quote I thought, who would have known that Shelley did a great job of describing a book buzz? A book buzz is a blast of emotional joy that is guaranteed to give an eager reader a boost of energy. It usually takes place after finishing an enjoyable book. And for me, it comes quite frequently after reading a great romance title.celebrate-romance

Why romance? What about other genres? Mystery titles can be satisfying with good triumphing over evil, but many times the ending is not firmly resolved, and the outlook is cloudy for the detective. Fantasy can show us other fantastical worlds with vibrant characters that astound us. But many of the world building that occurs in these tomes, reflects the problems and challenges of our own reality. Thrillers can take us on a fast ride with characters that will save the known world in 24 hours, and be at their boring old desk job tomorrow. But it might be the sense of optimism that is inherent in the romance genre that takes the book buzz joy to a higher level.

Yes, there are tropes within the romance genre. The joyous optimism of the characters keep calm RARfirst meeting each other, with the heroine and hero who have no idea that they are practically perfect for each other. They are the one! The friendly or unfriendly (depends on the story) but amusing banter of how they get to know each other. The obstacles that are laid in their path – whether it be an evil villain or internal emotional strife.  But then there is the fulfilling resolution of the characters’ hopes and dreams to a glorious future together down a path of love. A talented author can turn these well-known themes into something the reader finds to be witty, charming and damn brilliant fun.

In libraryland, we have a readers’ advisory saying about ‘the right book for the right time.’  What is going on in your life can reflect on how you respond to a book title. The readers bring their experiences, emotions and mindset to the subject matter. And for many readers in times of stress or uncertainty, a romance can bring a powerful lift to their not-so-bright and festive reality. Romances can comfort those who need to know that things will be alright by the end. But what about those readers who are already in a good place? Ah, then the book buzz is even deeper and stronger. This blast of joy gives the reader the vigor to stay up to 2 a.m., to write a review for the title at their favorite online book spot, and to share with every single person they know that this marvelous romance was the best thing ever. Then they immediately check to see if there is another book written by this wonderful and delightful writer.

In the right hands, this merriment and book buzz can last for a few days. It can inspire Sanctuary Islandexuberance and animation in one’s daily tasks. And then when the emotions wind down, there comes the anticipation of choosing the next romance title for another round. So go ahead and try it. Take the challenge. Choose your title and get ready for that book buzz joy.   

Monique recommends:

Lily Everett ( ) writes contemporary romance about a lovely isle with wild horses that is off the coast of southeastern Virginia. The setting becomes a character in itself as the first book in the series, Sanctuary Island, introduces us to the residents in this small community. It’s a heartfelt story of a couple that is not perfect, but who learn to overcome their difficulties and to love each other. Definitely for the fans of series that feature small town romances with strong secondary character.  It will lead you to other titles in the series. Lily also writes a fantastic ‘hot chef’ series under the name Louisa Edwards.

Jennifer McQuiston’s ( ) book Diary of an Accidental Wallflower is a charming historical romance. I loved the hero who is an up-and-coming doctor and Diarythe heroine who is trying to find her place in society but gets sidelined by an injury. McQuiston’s medical background makes this book authentic and gives the historical romance fan a new perspective of the era. As a history fan, I love new twists and unique characters in a time period. I can’t wait for the next title in the series. (Don’t miss Jennifer McQuiston’s RARM post, with bonus Q&As by Julia Quinn & Meredith Duran.)

Elizabeth Hoyt ( ) is a historical romance author whom many readers may already know. I finally have started to devour her titles in the Maiden Lane series. While the latest one (Dearest Rogue) is fantastic, I have fallen in love with an earlier title, Dearest Beast. It combines several of my must- read themes: a challenged hero, a witty heroine, actors and actresses in early theater houses, and pleasure gardens.  A great addition to the ongoing series, and a book you can read on its own. But be warned; it will probably lead you to reading the whole wonderful series. (EH will be at RARM 8/28.)

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I’m going to talk about book joy – the elusive moment when a new title you have been wishing / waiting for has come into your hands. Early this month, I had a librarian friend attend the American Libraries Association Conference in San Francisco.  She is kind to indulge me at conferences by bringing back some advanced reading copies of titles that I request. I saw on the advanced author signing list a NY Times bestselling romance author who does not do national tours that often. She was actually signing at ALA! I took a leap and asked if there was any possible way that my friend could fit this signing into her busy conference schedule. I knew I was wishing and tossing a penny in a fountain. Imagine my great surprise when I received an email saying that she had received the ARC and had it signed! A squeal went up in my quiet department and, yes, it was me.  When I received my book, my friend told me that she had shown the author a copy of my email requesting / begging for the book. My friend said the author smiled.  Yeah, it may not be world peace, but one must take one’s book joys and good book pals when one finds them.  They will sustain us in later trials and tribulations.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

A specific place that can bring me joy year round is the Chicago Botanic Garden. As I go through the paths, greeting old acquaintances –the trees, bulbs and perennials – I smile at the current bloomers, and make a note to come earlier next year to visit the ones that have finished. The lush greens of spring and summer make way to the essence of a crisp autumn with sharp colors and breezes. And in the winter, you can see the bare bones of the garden, the original plan laid out before the visitors. Then in spring, depending on the temperature, you can travel the trails to see the new sprouts peeking out of the soil.  The gardens here remind me – much more than New Year’s Day does – that everything can come back anew. Just wait, have patience and wait for the new birth. 

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Certain songs to me can trigger a memory or a place in time, and quite recently that joy came back to me when I attended a recent U2 concert. With this Irish group, this long time fan has had many life experiences set to a soundtrack of their music in my head.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Oh, goodness! Decisions, Decisions. I’m going to go with Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me. I kept thinking while reading my copy – this author gets it. She understands the comradery of friends. She understands the pressure of dieting on women. She has a real heroine and hero on her hands, and they are not perfect and their “village” doesn’t care. And then there is all that good storytelling and witty dialogue stuff, too.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

I’m thinking it might be a tie between Chris Pine and Chris Pratt. It’s that sexy scoundrel thing. But I must say, Chris Evans as the clean cut Captain America, is not too far behind those two.

Monique is giving away a box of mixed of romance titles (contemporary and historical), goodies and chocolate from RT 2015 and the Barbara Vey Readers Luncheon to one U.S. winner (apologies to international friends). 

mflasch headshot2015 (1)Monique Flasch is a librarian who’s worked in the Reader Services Department at the Glenview Public Library for more than 15 years. She does selection for the Romance and Mystery sections, and runs the Much Ado About Mysteries book discussion group. She has a prior management background in book store retailing. She is an eclectic reader who reads across the spectrum in non-fiction, history, mystery and romance fiction. She finds herself continually reminding fellow staffers that a book is not a “real” romance unless there is a HEA! She writes for her library blog, putters around at her personal blog Fun Frothy Reads, and has recently created a chatting and idea sharing environment for librarians who enjoy and promote romance on the Romance in the Stacks Facebook page. Engage her on Twitter.

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