Oct 4 2013 2:00pm

Keepers to the Rescue!: Digging Yourself Out of a Reading Slump

The Secret by Julie GarwoodLet’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 MacLeanAdam'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 BurtonNothing 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.

Here Kitty, Kitty by Shelly LaurenstonFrom 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?


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1. carmenlire
Lisa Kleypas is a go-to whenever I'm in a reading slump. Nora Roberts and Julie Garwood are also favorites. I also have specific books that can help such as Jude's Law by Lori Foster, See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson, and Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard.
2. Kareni
I have any number of comfort reads. Over time they've included LaVyrle Spencer's Morning Glory, Elizabeth Lowell's Tell Me No Lies, the J.D. Robb series, and some Star Trek novels (Yesterday's Son, Time for Yesterday, Uhura's Song, Doctor's Orders and Ishmael). More recently, Thea Harrison's Dragon Bound and Oracle Moon, Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega novels, as well as some Lisa Kleypas, and Courtney Milan books. When I was in college, I would reread a large one volume collection of Reader's Digest jokes for comfort.
Laura Bracken
3. Night -owl
Lisa Kleypas, is the perfect cure for reading slumps. Just started, Again The Magic, and I'm in love with reading again!
Julia Broadbooks
4. juliabroadbooks
Hi, Mad!

I reread Lisa Marie Rice (Midnight Man is near the top of my list of hers!), Lisa Kleypas, Dragon Bound and the Alpha and Omega books, and See Jane Score. We've got a lot of repeats!
Carmen Pinzon
5. bungluna
My shelves shelves are crowded with anti-slum reads that go from Agatha Christie to cure the mystery blues to Joan Wolf to remind me why at one time I only read traditional Regencies. I have books for sci-fi (Sharon Lee & Steve Miller), fantasy (Bujold and Lackey), suspense (Archer and Robb), contemporaries (Crusie, Phillips, Krentz, Howard, Kleypas), UB (Brigs, Butcher, Laurenston, Huff), and a few other things (Wolf, Gardner, Francis, James). I can always find something to cure my reading blues upon my keeper shelves.

I'll eventually manage to acquire all of these and keep them with me on my e-reader. Alas, my budget hasn't let me do in a few years what's taken me decades to accumulate in DT books!
6. RobinC
For comfort reads or to kick a reading slump, I always retreat to my favorites from when I was growing up: Georgette Heyer, Patricia Veryan, Mary Renault, Raphael Sabatini, Alexander Lloyd, Nora Roberts, Katherine Kurtz and Anne McCaffrey. Also, the book of Psalms. My grandma read it to us every single night for my first 12 years; reading it brings back her voice and how I felt at that time of my life.
7. JeniferJ
When I'm in a reading slump, I always pick up Julie Garwood's The Bride or Ransom. I love those books. Cindy Gerard's BOI series has also done the trick for me, as well as most anything by Kristen Ashley. I loved Ransom. It was my favorite of that series :)
8. Tammye
Bet Me or Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie and any of the Pride Series by Shelly Laurenston. I am currently on a re-read of Bear Meets Girl.
9. AlexisHall
I ... I am not in a reading slump. I am in the opposite of a reading slump, because I have too many books to read. And now I have more.

Thank you. If I may say that in an accusing tone of voice ;)
10. lenaheadey
Julianne MacLean shes a great writer and facebook covers when it comes to the design.
11. goddess01
Ok i don't think i ever had this problem, but if did my go to authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Karen Marie Moning and J.R. Ward. Any of there books would solve the slump!
Keely Larke
12. Keely
I run to Julie Garwood (pretty much anything she writes), Lisa Kleypas (The Hathaways) and Julia Quinn (Bridgertons -my favorite being The Duke and I). When I'm in the mood for paranormal relief, Larissa Ione's Demonica series and Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld get me back on track.
Janet Webb
13. JanetW
This is an amazing list--I just spent the last 1/2 hour figuring out which I would get/sample/wish list/buy/borrow/steal -- I have The Secret but I bought Adam's Promise and The Prodigal Daughter -- those are my kind of stories. I never have reading slumps--I just re-read old faves until I feel like readinag new again.
14. JanineB
Julie Garwood's The Bride, Saving Grace and Honor's Splendour. I loved her old stuff, and if I'm in a slump, she's my go-to. Also the old Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard stories. If I'm in a long slump, I grab Kresley Cole's A Hunger Like No Other and start working through her IAD series.
15. Lesliemi
My go to re reads are Mary Jo Putney's Fallen Angel Series, McCaffrey's Dragon rider series, Roberta Gellis and Diana Palmer's Friends and Lovers. They make me cry, laugh, and just generally pick me up and are guaranteed to cure any reading slump.
16. bigedsgirl1
Beverly Jenkins, Lisa Kleypas, Hannah Howell, and Julie Garwood for historical romance
Beverly Jenkins, Marie Force and Kat Martin for contemporary romance and romantic suspense

Nora Roberts and Catherine Anderson for my top two all-time feel good romances: Honest Illusions by Nora and Bright Eyes by Catherine
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