Do You Believe in the Slump Buster?

48826434As part of the  ongoing discussion about reading or really the lack thereof, I must admit that I’ve been in a major reading slump for the last few months.  Obviously, I’m not the only one.  Recently Sandy wrote an post on The Reading Slum That Will Not Die in which she blames a book for her lack of reading interest.  Jean followed Sandy’s piece with her own where she discussed A Solution to the Reading Slump, which involved taking a break from reading to end a slump.   Now, I’d like to throw out there the idea of a slump buster – a book so good that it in and of itself will bring you out of a slump.   At first, I thought such a thing didn’t exist, but now I know and I believe.

My slump was caused by what seemed like both an inundation of mediocre books, as well as upheaval in my personal life that left me with little time to read and when I get out of a habit, it’s incredibly hard to get going again.  I can’t say I didn’t read, because I did, but I lost the desire.  I read a couple of books that were good, not great, and certainly not inspiring and I just wanted….no, needed…. a book that would make me fall back in love with romance.  In other words, I needed a true slump buster.

My slump buster came out of the blue, one that I’d had in a TBR pile for a while and hadn’t gotten around to reading.  It was Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Serpent Prince and I have to say it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time.  It contains all the elements of romance  I enjoy most; a gritty, tortured hero who is deeply affected by the heroine, a heroine smart enough to realize she can love a man with imperfections, a true historical feel, witty and intense dialogue, and unsettling sexual tension.     I read it and immediately re-read it, a sign of a true keeper.  All I can say is that it made me want more and I’ve been reading steadily ever since, which makes me a happy person.

Since reading my slump buster, I’ve been reading review books in earnest, two other of Ms. Hoyt’s works, most of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and several others by various authors.  Many of those were wonderful, some average, and others left much to be desired.  But, I’m okay with that because I realized yet again that whatever the book I’m reading brings, I’ll eventually find another that enables be to remember why I love reading romance so very much.  It’s something that I’d forgotten for a little while.  It also makes me wonder what other gems I have hiding in my TBR pile.

Do you believe in the slump buster?  Have you experienced a book that made you fall back in love with romance after time away?

- Heather AAR

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25 Responses to “Do You Believe in the Slump Buster?”

  1. marcella says:

    Funny, I’ve never been in a reading slump, although I guess it could happen one day, but I was in dire need of some comfort reads and am therefore rereading… the Princes trilogy!

  2. Tee says:

    —Heather wrote: Do you believe in the slump buster?—

    There probably is such a thing. Off hand, I really can’t recall which books pulled me out of one or more slumps or if it was just ready to die away anyway. It probably was some good meaty book that kept me glued to the pages and I knew then that good stories (for me) are still being written and I’ll be enjoying them again.

    Having said that, there is no one book where “one size fits all.” That book would be different for each person, maybe some similarities, but different just the same. “Serpent Prince” would not have been mine, but then that’s me. But I understand what you’re saying when you became immersed in the story and it welcomed you back to the world of reading. That’s the good part and it was tailor-made for you in that way.

    Funny thing about reading slumps, though. Each time when I returned to reading following them, it was with enthusiasm; but I did notice that I wasn’t reading as much when compared to the amount before the slump. Thinking about it, I believe that was a good thing because, in taking my time now, I’m truly enjoying what I read–and vice versa–realizing when I’m really not liking what I’m reading and put the book down.

  3. Kara says:

    I was in a pretty bad slump over the summer (2 months) and what finally pulled me out of it was rereading some of my favorite books. Then I picked up a Charlaine Harris book (Harper Connelly series)…and the reading started back from there.

    So, I guess comfort reads could help someone’s slump too.

  4. Quyen says:

    Elizabeth Hoyt was a slump buster for me also. I read, read, and read so many books that I couldn’t what I had read and if I enjoyed them or not. For me it was her book The Leopard Prince. I enjoyed it so much I actually went on her website and told her so. She will actually send you free autographed bookmarks and bookplates. After reading the book, I purchased it for my Kindle just so I could lend my copy out. I challenged my friends to read one of her books and they all are hooked. I only have two auto-buy authors Elizabeth Hoyt and Sherry Thomas.

  5. Scorpio M. says:

    We’re going to sound like a broken record soon, it was E. Hoyt as slump buster for me as well!

    I had stopped reading romance consistently for a couple of years and was just browsing through reviews one day on Amazon and I came across a reviewer who seemed to mirror my likes & dislikes. She raved about The Serpent Prince so I gave it a shot, I enjoyed TSP but didn’t love, love it. I had also ordered The Leopard Prince so I read that and so happy I did, like Quyen, I absolutely adored it. End of slump and beginning of E. Hoyt fangirl.

    All this led to a rejuvenation in reading romance and I have since found some more favorites: Stephanie Tyler, Victoria Dahl, Jennifer Ashley, etc.

    Thanks Ms. Hoyt!

  6. Ida says:

    I had a almost four month long book slump that ended about two weeks ago when I read Louisa Edwards’ debut “Can’t Stand the Heat”, and it jump started me. I read most of genres in the romance world but I am really looking foward to some new contempories that will be coming out in early Feb. now (Heidi Betts, Kristin Higgins, Lori Foster, Nalini Singh all out on Feb 2nd!). All it takes is a fresh well written book, which sounds simple , but when you are in a really bad reading slump, it’s not too easy to pick the right book that will hold your interest.

  7. Kati says:

    I absolutely believe in a slump buster. Only problem is, you never know when one will come along.

    After I read Joanna Bourne’s The Spymaster’s Lady, I didn’t finish another romance for almost two months. Then I picked up Virgin River by Robyn Carr. I blew through it in four hours.

    Two totally different books, different writing styles, different time frames, everything. And yet, Robyn Carr pulled me out like a champ. It can happen, it’s just that you never know what’s going to work for you.

  8. Amna Khan says:

    Definitely! Betina Krahn’s The Last Bachelor is for me the all time best romance ever written! I read it every year!

  9. Tracy says:

    After reading a bunch of mediocre books and then finding a well written book its like discovering the romance genre all over again. Mary Balogh did that for me recently with The Precious Jewel. I actually have a couple of older Laura Kinsale books on my shelf that I am saving for my next dry spell! ;)

    • AAR Heather says:

      Wow! I impressed that Ms. Hoyt has ended so many reading slumps. Certainly an accomplishment.

      Tracy: I actually have a couple of older Laura Kinsale books on my shelf that I am saving for my next dry spell!

      I really like this idea – putting back books that have high praise, or are classics, to save for a dry spell. I’ll have to try it.

  10. Maria R. says:

    Oh yeah Tracy, Laura Kinsale is good at any time.

    I’m not sure if this counts as a reading slump, seeing as I never stop reading!!! But when every romance I come across seems formula-istic and mediocre, I stop reading romance for a while. The last time this happened, I discovered Jasper Fford and Sharon Shinn (who really is romance just more futuristic or something). I also go back to childrens’ books and I recently re-discovered E. Nesbitt.

    So I guess my reading slumps, such as they are, lead me down paths to wonderful new genres and authors!!!!

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  12. Kelly says:

    I came out of a slump just last night. Christmas activities and busy kids had me plodding thru Frederica by Heyer in snippets of forced interest. Stayed up until midnight reading Mary Balogh’s A Matter of Class – it’s a novella – and I’m back! Am eagerly starting Serpent Prince per this posting. Looking back in my life, I think I’m seasonal and have a reading proliferation as spring approaches.

  13. alicet says:

    Quite amazing that Elizabeth Hoyt also helped end my slump. I stopped reading romance books for almost 2 years. I read The Raven Prince because of a review I read fromm AAR and followed this by reading 2 of my comfort reads (Almost Heaven by McNaught and The gift by Garwood) and I’ve been reading nonstop since then. I am really happy to discover new authors I haven’t read before like Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Laura Lee Guhrke and Jo Goodman.

  14. Laurie says:

    Harlequin Romance broke my reading slump. Don’t laugh. Let me explain. My girlfriend said I had to read them and lent me a bunch of Harlequin Romance books – you know, the short, 192 page, Billionnaire Sheik’s Pregnant Virgin Door Mat Shepard Girl-type thing. She had dozens of them. And I’ve never read a one. Well, by the end of the 1st one I was laughing so hard, I just had to continue. They were hilarious. But they inspired me to find something good to read again. So, for no other reason than it looked interesting, I read Jo Goodman’s “If His Kiss Is Wicked”. It was like having a wondeful meal after a junk food binge. Had never read anything of hers other than “Never Love a Lawman” which I hated. So now I’m excited about reading again and plan to read all of Goodman’s regency historicals. Already started “A Season to be Sinful” and am loving it. Thank you Harlequin!

  15. Quilt Lady says:

    I have been in those slumps myself lately, but I have hit on a good read now! I loved Elizabeth’s Holts Prince series! I think The Leopard Prince was my favorite of the three but they were all fabulous! If you like the western type romances try Elaine Levine’s debut book Rachel and the Hired Gun because it is an awesome read I am waiting for the second on in this series, it comes out in Feb. I highly recommend Rachel and the Hired Gun, you will love it.

  16. reena says:

    hi.found this site while searching for a particular book with russia as setting..read it while i was 15(1996)and it made an impression..dont know the name of the book or the author..remember only certain details and that too are vague..a lady forced by her circumstances to travelwith a russian aristrocrat and his ward..doesnt like him very much ,but sleeps with him during the long journey to russia..finds that he also sleeps with his ward. befriends the ward..when living at his house in russia,finds him to be an unfeeling landlord,hated by his servants and tenants..she gets caught in the middle of a revolution in russia,she escapes from his manor,runs into rebels,gets rescued by an english army officer(not sure)gets out of russia with him while falling in love with him ..if anyone could tell me the name of the book and the author,i will be grateful..
    as u can imagine,i’m in a slump now and looking back to old books that caught my interest…

  17. Cindy says:

    I too believe in reading slumps
    I am coming out of a serious one now. I just finished An Echo in The Bone by Diana Gabaldon…each time I finish a Jamie and Clair book I am ruined for anything else. I look up from the last page of the book and expect Jamie and Clair and the whole cast to be in my living room.
    Anyway, the book that brought me back was Mary Balogh’s A Matter of Class.
    It is a short book but it totally reminded me of why I love the Romance genre…it was a very sweet and truly romantic book.
    Also, thanks for all of the other suggestions… Elizabeth Hoyt is an auto-buy for me

  18. mdegraffen says:

    Never been in a reading slump. Or maybe I don’t recognize one because I am constantly reading.

  19. Karen says:

    It is so funny that this is the topic. I was just experiencing a reading slump myself. For me it was not finding a book that really pulled me and kept me reading. I love to read for many reasons, mainly stress relief and to be taken away by a story. I just have to say that Madeline Hunter pulled me out of my slump. I have had several of her books waiting to be read. In this one week I have read three of her books. “By Arrangement”, “The Protector” and “Lord of a Thousand Nights”. I have several more of hers I am eager to read. Beautiful writing, exciting stories, historical detail and romance! One of the things that keeps me reading is looking for and finding great stories by great authors. There is such a feeling of satisfaction when they are discovered! Looking forward to reading “By Possession”, “By Design” and “Stealing Heaven”!

  20. Laura says:

    I’m in a reading slump right now, and every book I start seems boring.
    I’m not sure your method of finding a great (for you) book would work for me. Probably, if the slump’s too bad, I just wouldn’t recognize it as a good book.
    Typically, this is what happens to me during a slump:
    I start the book, and like it a lot. I put it down for whatever reason, and when I pick it up again after a few hours I just can’t get into it again. It ends up as a DNF and I pick up a new one…. etc etc.
    I’m afraid that the other method mentioned, to stop reading altogether for a few weeks, is probably better for me. But that’s hard to do too, like deciding to go on a diet… I know it’s good for me, so I’ll start tomorrow.. :)

  21. I find I often don’t finish books, and I’ve quit abusing myself over them. I’ve come to the realization that just as readers don’t all like the same thing, authors don’t all write in the same way. I think the trick is finding the authors who get you to open the doors of your imagination–and who those authors are won’t be the same for every reader or even for our every mood.

    We have lots of authors guest blog on our site (www.romconinc.com). I love reading their posts and getting a sense of who they are and what their writing styles are like. I’ve found several new authors in new sub-genres who are just right for me, so I’m having a better overall reading experience and seeing fewer DNFs!

    Anna Campbell and Elizabeth Hoyt are consistent slump busters for me. Jennifer Ashley was another recent discovery for me. And I have a another pile of TBR I can’t wait to dive into!

    BTW–Quilt Lady, thank you so much for your excitement over my work. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about Audrey and the Maverick!

  22. marilyn stout says:

    I have been in a reading slump now for about 2 months and it is depressing. I am an avid romance reader, but I can’t seem to get into a book. I need something to jumpstart me so I think I’ll try an Elizabeth Hoyt and see if she does the trick. If anyone else can think of a book that they just couldn’t put down, please tell us!!!

  23. Melissa says:

    Yep just hit a reading slump myself and, like Cindy, it was brought on by Diana Gabaldon’s latest. I finished reading the book at 5am one morning about two weeks ago and haven’t found anything I want to pick up since. Sigh.

  24. AAR Heather says:

    I may have to do a reread of Outlander. That sounds pretty good right now.