Let’s talk about book slumps, when whatever you pick up just seems dull and you aren't interested in anything else. I have found myself deep into them on a regular basis lately, and I've found two things to dig me out: watching TV and/or movies, or going back to keepers (books I never give away or will get rid of) and rereading them until the mood goes away and I want to read something new again. Sometimes it’s a full reread, while other times it’s just a reread of favorite scenes/passages that stood out for me when I originally read the books. Keepers are books that stick with me long after I’ve read them and sometimes just seeing the title/author name will remind me of a certain scene or passage that I loved.
Some of my recent rereads included the following, in no special order.
Julie Garwood’s historicals are my first stop when I’m looking to revisit favorite characters. There’s just something about her historicals that I adore—I love her strong heroines and protective heroes. The Secret was my first Julie Garwood read. In fact, she was one of two authors to hook me on romance books almost 23 years ago. I loved the story of Iain and Judith, not to mention Judith’s relationship with Frances Catherine. The very first sentence in the story hooked me.
“They became friends before they were old enough to understand they were supposed to hate each other.”
Adam's Promise by Julianne MacLean is a Harlequin historical romance. In the book, Adam writes home asking his childhood sweetheart to marry him. A mix-up has Madeline, her younger sister, arriving instead. Madeline had been secretly in love with Adam and did not know her father had tricked them both by sending her in place of her older, prettier sister. While they wait for her sister to arrive, they try to make the best of things.
“Your father sent me the wrong bride!”
Madeline gritted her teeth. “Sir, you are not the only one who has been inconvenienced by this. I just spent forty-six days on a damp, creaky ship, and now you tell me in front of everyone that I’m not the one you ordered, and I shouldn’t have bothered. I believe I’ve had quite enough insults for one day. My father assured me you had asked for my hand. I had no reason to question the truth of it.”
Adam’s chest heaved with a sigh. “No reason to question it? Do you not have a mind of your own?”
Oh, this was too much. “To tell you the truth, Mr. Coates, I do have a mind of my own—a mind to poke my father with a knitting needle, and if I may say so, you could use a poke yourself!”
I loved how she refused to back down when he confronted her.
And the scene that sticks out the most for me in the book…..
I told her that I could not marry her, because…because I was in love with you.”
For a long time Madeline sat in her chair, immobile, listening only to the sound of her blood pounding in her ears. She stared blankly at Adam. “You can’t be.”
He bowed his head. “You can’t possibly love me. I’m nothing.”
“You’re not nothing. You’re everything.”
The Prodigal Daughter by Ginna Gray is another frequent reread. It's a contemporary romance whose heroine is Maggie, a girl who left town in disgrace when she was eighteen years old. She went on to be a supermodel but inside has always wondered why her father doesn’t love her. Seven years later she returns because her father is very ill and her mother asked for her help in running their family business. Dan, the hero, has been working for her father for twenty years. He tells her upfront that he’s going to keep an eye on her because he does not want her hurting her father and her family. Sparks fly between them from the beginning. Of course there’s the whole “dark secret” that gets revealed later on in the book. Even knowing what happens in it, I still sob in parts when reading it. Maggie is just a phenomenal character. The scene where the truth comes out and Maggie is knocked on her backside because of the secrets….mercy, that scene rips my heart out every single time I reread it. (Dear Harlequin: When will this be ready digitally? I really need it on my Kindle to take with me wherever I go. Xoxo, Me)
Nothing Personal by Jaci Burton is a contemporary romance where the hero, Ryan, needs a bride to fulfill the terms of his grandfather’s will. He ends up asking his assistant, Faith, to marry him but assures her it’s just a business deal. Ryan spent the whole book trying to win Faith over with gifts and presents and nothing was working….until the day he came home with a kitten for her. One of my favorite scenes in the book. It absolutely makes me melt every time I read it.
Relentless by Lauren Dane is a futuristic sci-fi romance where Abbie, the heroine, is a crusader for unranked individuals, like her, while Roman is ranked and grew up in a different world than Abbie did. There’s this scene where they’re in Abbie’s apartment and Roman gets upset that the heat barely works, which keeps Abbie cold and he wants her to go to his place because it’s warm and toasty and he doesn’t want to think of her being cold. I admit I’m a total fangirl when it comes to Lauren Dane and her books, but this book is special. I loved Roman and Abbie together and years later, my favorite passage in it is still the same….
“I carry this thing between us, like a weight. A good weight, in my pocket. I reach out and hold it from time to time like a wonderful secret. I will always have that. I will never feel this way about another woman, ever. My heart will be yours forever, no matter who shares your bed, no matter whose children you bear. I’m here.” He tapped her chest. “And you’re here.” He tapped his own.
And the ending? That he was willing to do everything in his power to be with her? *swoon *
Midnight Man by Lisa Marie Rice is a contemporary erotic romance. John becomes Suzanne’s new tenant in her building and the sparks between them are immediately apparent as soon as they meet. All of Rice’s heroes are so possessive and protective, but Midnight Man's John was my first LMR book and he’s still a favorite who I like to go back and revisit.
Shelly Laurenston's paranormal Pride series and her dragon shifter series under her G.A. Aiken pseudonym are both keepers. When I need a laugh, I read Shelly. I may get strange looks from people and my kids may think I’ve lost my mind, but Shelly’s books are pure fun for me. She’s always one I go to when I find myself in a book slump.
Here’s a sample of some of my favorite quotes from Shelly’s books.
From Here Kitty Kitty:
“It wasn’t until someone kicked his legs that Nik woke up. Alek, snoring beside him, his head resting on his shoulder. Ban snoring on the other couch, the noise rivaled only by the dog. He looked into the impossibly cranky face of Zach Sheridan. “Y’all get food?”
“We had a full refrigerator before you three got here.”
“Where I come from, we don’t let the refrigerator get empty.”
“Where you come from, you marry your sister.”
From Bear Meets Girl:
“All right fine!” she snapped. “I’m in love with you. There. I said it. Now get over yourself.”
“You know, I think those are the words written on the Taj Mahal: ‘I said it. Now get over yourself.’ Some of the greatest love stories have started with those words.”
Who do you like to read when you find yourself in a reading slump? What types of authors or books do you gravitate to?