Day 21 Loretta Nyhan – Proudly Addicted to Love

In Praise of Binges and Communities

We’ve all done it.

My first time was with LOST, the engrossing television series about a bunch of plane crash survivors marooned on a very Empire Girlsstrange island in the Pacific. The show is supposed to be about fate and destiny and the meaning of life, blah-blah-blah, but for me it was always about Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and Locke.  The characters and their relationships drew me in, so effectively that I watched the entire first season in a week-long Netflix marathon of heroic proportions. I’d stumble up to bed at three a.m., my husband questioning my sanity (until I got him watching), my body drifting off to dreamland while my brain still wondered if I had time for just one more episode. (Only 42 minutes without commercials! What’s the big deal?)

Oh, I love a good entertainment binge.  And, as long as I’m still getting up for work and feeding the kids, what’s the harm? We all need to fall into another world sometimes, to lose ourselves so completely that the stressors of daily life temporarily fade away.  Episodic television is great for this, but do you know what’s even better? Romance novels.

A few months ago, I discovered the first book in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series, and oh boy, was I hooked.  Imagine my glee upon visiting her web site and discovering not two or three or five books, but nine books in the series. Nine. Enough for a proper binge read, which I happily began, immersing myself fully in her charming Pacific coast town and its lively inhabitants. As I finished each novel, my investment in the world Jill created deepened. Binge reading intensified the experience—I became so familiar with Lucky Harbor and its townspeople, I felt like I lived there.  (The town has the best strip mall ever, containing a bookstore, bakery, and florist. If you’re reading, Jill–maybe I could move in and open a wine shop? Just a thought.) As with LOST, the characters and the complexities of their relationships captivated me–these books not only depict wonderful romances, but also stories of the often complicated bonds between mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, man and beast, new friends, and old companions. Reading them one after another makes it easier to see how all these lives interconnect. Everyone in Lucky Harbor had a story, and darn it, I was going to find out about each one. So I read and read and read…

And emerged from my binge, nine books later, bleary-eyed but satisfied. “Addict,” my husband jokingly called me when I came up for air. But, as far as addictions go, an obsessive desire to read about love and friendship is one I think I can live with.

How about you? Got a suggestion for binge-worthy reading? Please share in the comment section below!

 Recommendations:

Kristan Higgins’ terrific Blue Heron series and Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners (if you like erotica).


 Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

When I was 22, I moved to New York City with no job, no friends, and no money. What the heck was I thinking?

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

At my high school senior awards ceremony, my name was announced as “Writer of the Year.” I looked over at my journalism teacher and she was vigorously nodding her head. I’d never had that kind of validation before—it was like she’d given me permission to pursue what had seemed a pretty impossible dream.  (And, I don’t know any writers who can’t tell a good story about a teacher who is at least partly responsible for their careers.)

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

My first binge read—Nancy Drew mysteries. They sparked a love of reading that has never diminished. I think I was in 4th grade. At that point I made a decision—I was no longer going to be nun. Detective work was definitely in my future. Or maybe I could be a nun AND a detective. Nancy Drew made anything seem possible.

Loretta is generously giving away two copies of Empire Girls. U.S. readers only, apologies to international friends. Entry below.


NyhanLoretta Nyhan has worked as a journalist and copywriter, and currently teaches college writing and humanities. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and family. EMPIRE GIRLS, her second novel co-written with Suzanne Hayes, was released in June. Their first, I’LL BE SEEING YOU, earned the coveted Kirkus starred review, and has been translated into Italian, French, and German.

 

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  • Erica O’Rourke

    I love binge-reading! Jennifer Crusie’s books — though mostly not a series — are absolutely binge-worthy; in YA I’ve recently binged on Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series (all four VERY LENGTHY books in a week) and Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles.

  • Debbie Oxier

    Love finding a new series then reading all the books at once.

  • LisaVH

    I have always considered myself an addict. I think about when I’ll get to read when I’m not, I carry my substance of choice (my ipad mini) with me everywhere I go and I routinely check my local library websites for when my holds will be ready. I get edgy and twitchy when I finish a book and don’t have one ready to go. My favorite line from your post, “But, as far as addictions go, an obsessive desire to read about love and friendship is one I think I can live with.” That may replace “I read past my bedtime” as my lock screen on my reader.

  • Anna

    I loved I’ll Be Seeing You. Can’t wait to read Empire Girls! 🙂

    And my current episodic TV binge is Being Human on Netflix. It kills me that only 3 of 4 seasons are up there… I just want to get to the finale!

  • Sue G.

    I get the same way with books! Have you tried Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series? Similar to Jill’s Lucky Harbor but these are by the water in Florida. Or Carly Phillips’ Serendipity series? These take place in a small New York town. If you enjoy historicals, Sabrina Jeffries’ Hellions of Hallstead series is great too!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I have binge read so many authors of the years and I have the remainder of the Lucky Harbor series on my list to finish out as well as her Animal Attraction series since I love my little animals so much 🙂 I tend to get stuck in a sub genre of romance and binge like crazy there–I binge read so many authors that I can’t even begin to list them all but I will say I am currently binge reading fellow RARM author, Lisa Renee Jones’ Zodius series and they are some seriously yummy alpha males. I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal and contemporary lately with a bit of YA, but after RARM I am really jonesing for more historical romance again as well. My latest TV obsession in the new Outlander series because I absolutely adore those books and you don’t really have to work hard to find the romance there 🙂 But I will binge watch anything with a good story line, engaging characters, and preferably some romance sprinkled in as well. Thanks for your post and it’s good to know there are many other binge reader/watchers out there. RARM has basically become my AA for romance reading, except I’m not giving up my habit!

  • mariannewestrich

    I love a good binge read … I found the Anita Blake series on June 1st of this year and finished the 23rd book on August 1st. Two months of immersion into that world. It was GREAT!

  • Debbie Fuller

    I also binge read!

  • Wendi Rogers

    For a reading binge I would recommend Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series: 6 books (soon to be 7), 7 novellas, 3 short stories, and 2 collections to be read in the order published.

    I would also recommend Emma Jensen’s Regency novels (1995-2000). Again, read in order published. Two books of the series won RITAs. Jensen also wrote the 10 Series (1995-2002) which are three thick Romance novels that are very well written and should be read in order published.

  • I have binge read Marie Force’s Gansett Island series, Tessa Dare’s Splindle Cove, Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters. Fantastic! When you find a new author that conquers you, and you can read all the titles in a series in a little time…amazing! Thank you for your interesting post!

  • cheryl c.

    Julie James is a binge-worthy author.

  • Martha B

    Side bar: Isn’t Lucille (from Lucky Harbor) a hoot? The fact she maintains the Facebook page (shout out to Mysterious Cute Guy from Lucky in Love) is hilarious. One of my favorite things is discovering a new author (e.g. Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins) let me binge read ALL their books. Now I am caught up; II have to wait (like everyone else,) for their new books to release.

    Meanwhile, regarding YOUR post. Random comments: WOW, being validated in such a public way at the HS senior awards ceremony! Why are we so surprised when others see our talent? Is it because women as a whole are humble and self-deprecating? WOW – moving to NYC without a safety net. What a gutsy move. Sometimes we risk more as young adults than later in life. Maybe that’s because we have more to lose and we are better established.

    Binge read:
    Historical:
    * Eloisa James (Desperate Duchess series) + Three Weeks with Lady X.
    * Sarah MacLean, The Rules of Scoundrels books,
    Three of four in the series have been released.
    Book # 1 and 3 were RITA Award winners. Final book will be released in Nov.

    Contemporary:
    * Sarah Morgan – Books 1 & 2 of The O’Neill brothers. Final book in Dec.
    * David Baldacci (not romance but thrillers) 5 books in the Camel Club series

    • Loretta Nyhan

      I LOVE Lucille!!! Thanks for this!

  • rebecca moe

    Nancy Drew was my first binge read too! And 24 was my first binge watch–I totally get that “only 42 more minutes” thing–so tempting! (Sleep. So overrated.)

    My most recent binge read (listen, really–they were all audiobooks) was Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series. I won the third book in the series, and then had to immediately purchase the first two as soon as I’d finished it.

  • Sheila M

    I loved Nancy Drew. Eventually decided that there wasn’t enough romance for me 🙂

  • Erin F

    I remember binge reading ND in 4th grade too!!! Loved that series 🙂

  • Emmel

    Binged on Heyer, long ago and far away……

  • Cindy A

    Binge – JD Robb – The Eve Dallas Series (about 30 books now).

  • Joan Varner

    Susan Mallery’s – Fools Gold series. You won’t come up for air for about 2 weeks.
    Or Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series.

  • Pamby50

    Robyn Carr’s Virgin River, Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold, Belle Andre The Sullivans & Barbara Freethy’s the Callaway’s. You might to get some oxygen when you surface.

  • M Kuxhaus

    I love Margaret Mallory’s Highland quartet and Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series

  • Loretta Nyhan

    Such great suggestions (my TBR pile has grown wonderfully tall!). Thank you, everyone!

  • Tammy H

    I love LOST!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Nice to know that I’m not the only one who binge reads an author after falling in love with their books. Have you read any of Jill’s other series? I too feel like I could walk into Lucky Harbor & be at home. I love when an author does that to me, make me feel like I am part of the story. You also recommended my other favorite author, Kristan Higgins. Boy, those two sure know how to please their readers.

  • Jenny Kales

    I’m reading the Phryne Fisher mysteries. 1920s gun-toting Australian flapper with a fabulous wardrobe. Next, I’ll be binging on the TV series. 🙂

  • Glenda

    I’ve done binge reading on many authors: Grace Burrowes is the latest, but any great series works for me. 🙂

  • Stephanie M.

    Tiffany Snow’s Kathleen Turner Series was awesome and the final companion book just came out on Monday :). I finally finished The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr (20 books) and I am starting the sixth book in her Thunder Point Series. I’ve also been reading all of Lori Foster’s books. Last year I did binge reads of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter Series, Maya Banks’ Breathless Trilogy and KGI Series (really, all Maya Banks books are great), Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights Inc. series and so many others. I tend to like books in a series and have to read them in order.

  • Judy Goodnight

    I know about book binges! I’m the sort who has to read a series in order and I’ve been known to go through one book followed by another just to get to the point where I can now read the latest.