Book Hangovers ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn with Giveaway


Book Hangovers

If you follow me on Facebook or read this blog with any regularity, you have heard me use the term “book hangover” on a number of occasions.

So I wanted to talk a little more about the concept/phenomenon I call “book hangover.” I am not egotistical enough to think I coined the phrase, but I can not tell you from where I picked it up, since I can not remember.


hang·o·ver [hang-oh-ver]
1. the disagreeable physical aftereffects of drunkenness, such as a headache or stomach disorder, usually felt several hours after cessation of drinking.
2. something remaining behind from a former period or state of affairs.
3. any aftermath of or lingering effect from a distressing experience: the post-Watergate hangover in Washington.

You know what I am talking about, right? That feeling you get when you close the book, look around, and can’t fathom how the world is still spinning. You can’t fathom how you will ever read another book that spectacular. You just say “wow” and then want to start the whole thing again. You want to go up to every person you know and say “read this book now” and wonder how on earth they can exist without having done so.

I love book hangovers because they are a sign that I have been reading an exceptionally good story. Either the emotional impact is so strong that it leaves me drained as I finish those last few lines, or the characters and their world are so well-written that I simply cannot let them go yet. The story, characters, or both hold me in their grip so tightly that I need time to allow it to loosen – Christine

I asked friends, readers, authors, and reviewers what the term “Book Hangover” meant to them.  They know me, so I knew the term wouldn’t be new to them 😉 The common theme was



Why is a book hangover so important? There is a phrase I see a lot on Facebook, “It hit me in the feels.” I absolutely loathe the phrase, but I think it is very apt. A book should make you feel. It should tug your heart strings. It should turn your stomach. It should scare the shit out of you. It should make you rage with indignation. That is the sign of a good book. With a great book, however, those feelings do not go away with the words “The End.” They are still roiling inside of your heart and your head. THAT is a great book.

I often get the question from authors and readers alike what my criteria is for moving any given book from 4.5* to 5 stars. At one time, I was fairly free with my 5* ratings; you needed only to illicit some strong emotions, make me happy, and I was putty in your hands. Maybe I have grown more jaded over time, maybe I am just a cold bitch, but in order to earn an outstanding rating (i.e. 5*) from me, you pretty much have do two things:

  1. Make me not want to put the book down.
  2. Give me a book hangover.

A book hangover, to me, is what happens to my brain after finishing a really really amazing book. Could be an angsty steamy love story or a happy comedy or a horror murder mystery. Oftentimes a hangover will occur after finishing a much-anticipated book by a favorite author (but sometimes it’s an unexpected surprise book that was not on my radar). It could be a final book in a beloved series. A hangover means I can’t stop thinking about the characters in the book, and what transpired. After finishing the book, I become obsessed with it and read reviews and search out blog posts and interviews. I will track down the author on FB (if possible) and PM them to tell them how awesome their book is. (And may I just say that they all have always been extremely gracious and kind to me – Authors are such a special bunch.) I search for deleted scenes the author may have shared. I tell all my friends to read the book.  I write a review and post it to GR and Amazon and book pages/groups on FB. All the while, thinking of the characters and various favorite scenes and what happened to them. Often I’m unable to move onto a new book for a couple days… Sinking into the depths of the hangover. Aahhhhh. – Beth

The Players

The first book I can remember giving me a book hangover was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I was out of town on business as I was reading that book. I read on the plane to Denver. I read every break I had. I read the entire first evening I was there. I closed the book, googled the nearest bookstore (which happened to be a Borders not too far from my hotel), drove over, and bought the first 3 in paperback. Yes, I had already read them multiple times. Yes, I had them at home in hardback, but I HAD to read them RIGHT THEN. Before I left Denver, I had purchased 4 and 5 in paperback as well.


I have experienced some pretty awesome book hangovers in my life.  My last book hangover was Slasherazzi by Daniel A Kaine, though instead of “wow” my reaction was (and still is) “holy fuck…” Before that, I would apply the term to The Race for Second by Chase Potter and Aaron from JP Barnaby, among others. Heck, Aaron still gives me a hangover every time I read it, and I have read it 3 or 4 times now.


With an alcohol-induced hangover, everyone has their tried and true hangover cure – be it the hair of the dog, coffee and aspirin, or some disgusting concoction involving hot sauce and a raw egg. None of those choices would be very effective on a literary hangover. So how does one get over a book hangover? For me? I use a fluffy chaser or a go-to comfort read. I find a (usually novella or short story length) title that is low on angst. Some titles/authors I have used in the past are Charlie Rent-Boy by JP Barnaby, Eli Easton, Andrew Grey, and Mary Calmes. Another tried and true method is to start the series over from the beginning (ala Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).

Some people have to move on immediately, usually to something lighter.  Some take some time off books and might watch a movie or listen to music.  Some people re-read everything on which they can get their hands or seek out all the information they can about the characters, author, similar titles, etc.   For everyone, however, time is key… and nother great read.

Which are you?

So what are some of your hangover inducing titles? How do you deal with the effects?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many Thanks to Brandon, Ethan, Dean, Leisa, Teresa, Christine, Embry, Beth, Jen, and PizzyGirl for their contributions to this piece.


Brandilyn has kindly offered a $10 ARe Giftcard to 1 lucky commenter

Contest will end 5 days from original posting date at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.


For more information on the books mentioned in the post:

Aaron by JP Barnaby
Armed & Dangerous by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban
Bitten by Kelly Armstrong
Calming a Demon Heart by Charlie Richards
Catch a Ghost by SE Jakes
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane
Cheating Chance by James Buchanan
Cold by Brandon Shire
Divide & Conquer by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban
Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I Probably Shouldn’t Have Done That by Edmond Manning
Into the Wind by Shira Anthony
Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane
King Perry by Edmond Manning
A Matter of Time by Mary Calmes
Memorizing You by Dan Skinner
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Power Exchange by AJ Rose
The Price of Dick by Dan Skinner
The Race for Second by Chase Potter
Red Dirt Heart by NR Walker
The Shattered Door by Brandon Witt
Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford
Slide by Garrett Leigh
Something like Autumn by Jay Bell
Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony
Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
This is Not a Love Story by Suki Fleet
Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux
Training Season by Leta Blake
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin 

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

29 thoughts on “Book Hangovers ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn with Giveaway

  1. I agree Brandilyn, 5* for me are those that give me the old book hangover – sometimes these are not even ones where I really enjoyed the content as much as appreciating where the author has taken me and has left me thinking.
    A Note in the Margin and The River Leith, both cover mental issues and certainly made me appreciate issues that can arise; The Celestial for the issues facing being gay in the past and the plight of chinese immigrants; KJ Charles Magpie Lords books for the paranormal fun elements; AJ Rose Power Exchange books because wow; some of Jo Myles, Theo Fenraven, Harper Fox & Kaje Harper novels just cause I like them! 
    Looking through, I think those with medical/strong emotional issues to deal with seem to rate high with me.

  2. Love a good book hangover! Any and all of the Cut & Run books, all of Tiffany Reisz books, and most recently, King Perry by Edmond Manning. So many more….it’s a wonderful problem to have!

  3. I love books that hangover. They make me appreciate the author. I also like the comments as I can find more books for me as well.

  4. Wow…that explains that feeling I’ve had all these years after finishing certain books…a book hangover. Now it makes perfect sense. Two books that stand out for me are Something Like Summer by Jay Bell and Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane. Another one I read many years ago was Bareback by Chris Owen. Things happened in that book that I was not expecting. Other authors that usually induce book hangovers for me are Abi Roux, Rhys Ford, TJ Klune, and SE Jakes. They always leaving me wanting more and some of them end things with a bit of a cliffhanger at times. Yes, I am talking about you Rhys. 🙂 I usually take a day or two off from reading when I feel this way and catch up on my favorite TV shows.

  5. Awesome post! I feel like i was too short in my answers to you earlier on book hangover though. I think you hit it all on the head.

  6. Some of those books were 5-star, and some were 2-stars. Amy Lane skates the edge of 5-star and 2 star because sometimes the angst is too much. Chase in Shadow was perfect but Promises Rock series was too much for me.
    Aaron was just right too.

  7. As much as a good book hangover usually leaves me gutted, I still love it. I’d like to add my book hangover go-to recovery author to the list, Cardeno C.

  8. Thanks for the wonderful post. Some of my hangover books include Memorizing You, Chase in Shadow, A Midwinter Prince, Something Like Autumn, The Whyborne & Griffin series, The Roads series, A Charm of Magpies series. My cure is to read a different type of book. So, if my book hangover was a contemporary, angst book I will go read something sic-fi or fantasy. I can’t really take a break because I always need to be reading something 🙂

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

  9. One of my favorite authors, Kendall McKenna, repeatedly leaves me with book hangovers. Her Strength of the Mate series is outstanding! Even the re-reads leave me a bit hungover. SE Jakes and Rhys Ford are two others I can immediately think of that write amazing books. Sometimes it takes days before I can really pick up another book after reading any of the books from these ladies.

  10. Great post Boss! Even thinking about the ones that have given me that ‘Hangover feeling’ has brought the feeling back. The ones I can recall, whilst watching the Wimbledon Final here, my first would be a book called ‘Mayerling’ when I was about 13. It involved Prince Rudolph of Austria and Maria Vetsara. Based upon a true story it ripped my inners out the feeling was so visceral. More recent titles which have had this effect would be The Brothers of the Wild North Sea – Harper Fox, Memorizing You – Dan Skinner, Who We Are and Into this River I drown – TJ Klune, Woke Up in a Strange Place – Eric Arvin and One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Must stop now….

  11. Great post. I get a book hangover from anything by Josh Lanyon, Amy Lane, SE Jakes or Jay Bell. All their books always put you through the ringer. Oh, I almost forgot about the Cut & Run series. Ty & Zane are like crack for me. I always want more, but don’t know if my head & heart can take it.

  12. I used to hand out 5s the same way. As long as I couldn’t really fault the book in any major way and I enjoyed it, it received a 5 star. Now, the book has to gut me in some way. Either with how incredible the character and/or world building is or the hangover as you have mentioned. Aleksandr Voinov’s work tends to stick with me for days ( sometimes weeks! ), same with Kirby Crow. Lilith Saintcrow is another author that I have gobbled up practically everything she has ever published >.<

    I usually have to switch genres when a book/author gives me a hangover.

  13. Awesome post, many of the books mentioned are those I would have listed. Most recently for me would be Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire, total book hangover, emotionally intense, still find myself thinking about it.

  14. Special Forces was like that for me. First M/M for me and it was devastatingly mesmerizing. I don’t think I slept more than 2 hour a night the whole time I was reading it and was barely functioning by the end of it. Also That’s What Brothers Do and It Started with Brian did that to me too – could not stop reading and was gutted when I finished them.

  15. Their is something so great and stressful about those books that give you the hangover.
    Abigail Roux, SE Jakes, and Lili St. James seem to always leave me with book hangovers. My most recent came from Bang, I don’t know if I have gotten over that one yet.

  16. So many great books listed in the post and comments with some that I need to add or push up my Kindle pile. Midnight by Megan Derr, Changing Worlds by Cari Z and Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding by Marie Sexton were some of book hangovers for me that were not named.

  17. book hangovers for me include Harry Potter series, Anita Blake series (I have re-read this series sooooooooooo many times!) Cut and Run series, Ethan, The Sergeant, Try….and I can’t wait for Take!

  18. Book hangovers? I never thought of it in that term before…I like it, lol. I have plenty of books that have given book hangovers: Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn, Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard, The Nine Kingdom series by Lynn Kurland, Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux, most of Mary Calmes and Cardeno C.’s stories, Force of Law by Jez Morrow, Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenburg, Chronicles of Ylandre series by Eressë, Missing Butterfly by Megan Derr and a few of Sasha L. Miller short stories

  19. I have a name to this feeling now, thank you 🙂

    I get this from a lot of books
    The Cut & Run series, the Psycop series, the Holmes and Moriarity series, the Shadow of the Templar series and the Dragonriders of Pern series, just to mention a few
    I reread these A LOT 🙂

  20. King Mai by Edmond Manning, Transgression by Theo Fenraven, Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane, Unbroken by Larry Benjamin, Gliterland by Alexis Hall, Silent by Sara Alva…I could probably name another 10 at least.

  21. Yay I love this write-up! And I feel so famous now. 🙂 Nothing like a good book hangover, I say. And now i’m going to check out all the other books that the readers listed here as their “favorites” 🙂 <3

  22. I’ve had a lot of book hangovers in my days… Jordan L. Hawk and Abigail Roux have been responsible for quite of few of them! (Re-reading every book I own by a certain author? Why I never…) The absolute worst I’ve ever had was Tahn by L.A. Kelly. I read it in one day, put it down in a daze, and staggered around speechless. Then the next day, I picked it up and read it cover to cover. Again. And then the next day, I started it over one more time. Yup, that book pretty much did me in. The copy I still in is much dog-eared, and has been passed around to all my friends at my insistence.

  23. Two books I immediately think of after reading this are Northern Corporate Dominion by Remy Heart and Close Protection by Cordelia Kingsbridge. After finishing them I felt emotionally drained and I thought about some scenes, details etc. for a long time after. In CP it was the emotionally self-desctructive behavior of one of the main characters that elicited the most intense emotional response and when reading NCD I felt genuine fear. I have never dreaded something happening as much as I did then – and it wasn’t even me that had to endure the events.

  24. Training Season by Leta Blake is my book hangover. I couldn’t stop thinking about what the MCs were up to next. I would love it if she wrote more about them. What did I do? Nothing, just thought and talked about the story until my mind let loose enough for me to start reading another book. That’s what I always do.

  25. I have read over 1000 books in this genre and non have given me the book hangover more than Into the Woods by kathleen kerridge. There have been many that have come close. Perfect Imperfections by Cardano C and pretty much every book by Sandrine Gasq Dion do it for me but I will never forget the way I felt after reading Into the Woods.

Leave a Reply