Something to Talk About










This a Sunday feature here where we discuss specific topics related to books and the blogosphere.

Let’s talk book series!




I don’t know that I was even aware of book series until I began reading J. D. Robb’s In Death years ago. That also coincided with my joining a former book community site called Shelfari and then later Goodreads. I became manic about reading in order because of the magic in doing so with the In Death series. The character development is extraordinary and you lose that continuity if you don’t read them in published order.


I confess that my preference is for series reading because of my history with some spectacularly talented writers who do this well. Whether it be the community they create or the character connections developed, they wrote stories that made me want to keep coming back. Lately, I’ve read quite a few standalones and have loved the finality that comes with them, even when I covet more. But, when I think of my most favorite series, I get rather mystical.


A trend that I’ve seen grow over the past few years is where some authors and/or publishers will be silent on a new release being tied to a series. One of the objectives, IMO, is to increase sales as a buyer might be reluctant to try a book that isn’t the first in a series. It’s a short sighted view as I see reviews that rate the books lower comment that they haven’t read the earlier books and maybe that made a difference in their enjoyment. However, I think it’s almost criminal for an author to declare a book as standalone when it’s part of a series with a continuing story arc. You just make readers angry and they’ll never trust you again. I’ve witnessed it happen.


Another trend I’ve seen is for a reviewer to acknowledge a book’s placement in a series but that it can be read as a standalone. I really wish we could develop a different distinction for saying while there is character continuity, it’s a unique story arc…hey! Maybe just say that😏 Because it is not a standalone book otherwise.




I have friends who enjoy reading out of order, do it deliberately. And, I know of others who believe authors should always write a book as if it’s a standalone even if it’s part of a series. You know I don’t agree but I firmly believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect it. My friends who do this are perfectly happy with that reading behavior and if they’re satisfied, that’s enough for me.





I have a long list of series I love but I’ll limit them to my most favorite and only the first two are in the correct order. So, here it is!

  1. In Death by J. D. Robb (big surprise)
  2. Troubleshooters by Suzanne Brockmann
  3. Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowland)
  4. Amos Decker by David Baldacci
  5. Romantic Suspense by Karen Rose (DO NOT follow the city order! Follow published order…trust me)
  6. I-Team by Pamela Clare
  7. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
  8. Cork O’Connor by William Kent Krueger
  9. Harry Bosch by Michael Connelly (including the TV series!)
  10. Sebastian St. Cyr by C. S. Harris
  11. Virgin River by Robyn Carr
  12. Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson


Okay. Had to force myself to stop. There’s lots more😬

Obviously I love my series. I mentioned earlier that more recently I’ve listened to a lot of standalone books, many I’ve rated 5 stars. So, it’s not an either/or choice for me. I just like the happy place a good series takes me.


Do you have a preference for series reading or standalones?

Are you diehard about reading in order or more flexible?

If you read series, what are some of your favorites and why?

20 thoughts on “Something to Talk About”

  1. OK I love this post. I’ve read 6 of your 12. I’ve heard of almost all of them. The 6 include some of my favorites also. I’ve always enjoyed series and I’m OCD about reading them in order. I think for me it started with the mysteries like Sara Paretsky’s VI Warshawski, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury, Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone, Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott, JA Jance’s JP Beaumont, Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds, Elizabeth George’s Thomas Lynley, Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid / James, Lisa Gardner’s DD Warren, Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar, and I could go on and on and on. That’s just a few of the mysteries, there’s UF, PNR, Fantasy, Romance, SciFi ….
    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea we shared this condition 😍 No wonder we get along so well!

      Oh, I forgot Myron Bolitar!!! And it wasn’t until I joined Goodreads that I realized I’d read Kay Scarpetta completely out of order.

      Nice list and mix of series you’ve noted, some on my shelf but not started (D. D. Warren, J. P. Beaumont). We’ve talked about a few of the others but I can’t add anymore until I finish out the year.


    1. I figured out you weren’t a series girl😍 But! I’m getting most of my new standalone recommendations from you! I love the Gaslight Mystery series and swear by this list. One I think you’d be crazy about is Sebastian St. Cyr. It’s amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love series and agree, they have to be read in order to get the full benefit of the characters. I’ve followed the In Death books from the first in audio. This is the only one on your list but I’m taking note of the others 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, i dunno. I personally never came across a series where i could say with absolute certainty that a later book is ok to read as a standalone. I prefer reading in order, cuz it’s better to know the history of the characters i think.

    I did accidentally start a series with a 2nd book, and it was because they didn’t make it clear it was part of a series. I enjoyed the book, didn’t really feel like something’s missing, but now, knowing there was a book before i’m kinda on the opinion that it would have been better to read that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norrie, I hate when that happens, which is normally why I check with Goodreads first but sometimes that’s not enough. A few months ago, I read a book that was the first in a series but then I could tell there was more I’d missed. Turns out, it was a continuation of another series but the author decided to start a “spinoff.” It was a 3 star read for me because of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do like a series but I am the one who really likes them all to be published so I can read them all without having to wait. That being said I just finished The Shadow of the Wind series and I did wait anxiously for every book in that series. Grabbed it up as soon as it came out. When I was a kid, it was Nancy Drew for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoy reading series, because sometimes it’s hard to let go of the main character. I am not a fan of the newer trend to have series of novellas that could make a complete book if put together. It’s taking advantage of the reader. I enjoy series of standalones as well and do try to read them in order. Great post! =D

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Jonetta! I like to read in order but I can be flexible too. I love seeing how the characters change and grow as the series progresses and I can come attached to the characters.

    I read the first Harry Bosch series and do have the next one that I have been meaning to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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