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Series: Is the First Always the Best? by Connie Gillam



I don’t like series. Let me amend that. I thought I didn’t like series. I was looking for a topic for this post and started going through my audible library. I’ve read a lot of series. That surprised me because when I read I like the excitement of “the meeting” and the excitement of falling in love. Series are like an old married couple. You’re comfortable with each other, can finish each others sentences, and you go to bed in flannel. (I know. Very telling. LOl)

I started looking at the series I’ve read and the reasons why I stuck with them.

1. Outlander- Diana Gabaldon. The first book was good, but the last hundred pages… It wasn’t until Voyager (the third book in the series) that I found the joy of reading the series again. Granted there was enough in the second book to not put me off going to the next. And I loved the characters.

2. Fire and Ice- George RR Martin. George is the master story teller. I LOVED the first book. The second and third in the series were good. By the time the fourth rolled around, there were too many families and too many characters within the families to keep straight. I gave up. Also not enough romance but the plot was so good I forgave him that element.

3. In Death-J.D. Robb. LOVED the first book. Have read it three times in the last twenty years.  The excitement of Roarke’s pursuit of Eve had me falling in love with him. Nora did a great job with developing Eve’s character. But by the twelve book I was tired of the series. The excitement in the romance was gone.

4. Fever -Karen Marie Moning. I met Karen at the Future, Fantasy and Paranormal convention in New Orleans. She was autographing her first book. (Good marketing ploy. She’d already written the first four). I read it. Bought the next books-read them one after the other in about four weeks. I was hooked. Had to wait a few months until the last in the series came out. The chemistry between Jerrico Barrons and MacKayla (Mac) was hot. The sex was hotter.

What series makes your top five and why?

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Piper - June 19, 2014 - 8:55 am

Hi Connie!

I think I said before (when Marie Force visited) that I love her Fatal series. I don’t think of any particular volume that I love, but is just exciting following the ongoing drama between Nick and Sam.
I tried Outlander, but I just couldn’t get into it. I will give the tv show a try though. Maybe that’s the kick in the butt I need to give it another chance.
I don’t know if this counts, but I also like Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet books. I hope she keeps digging around and finds more of those Plantagenets to write about. Enough with the Tudors already!

Marilyn Baron - June 19, 2014 - 9:19 am


I also love the Outlander series. In fact, I just ordered Diana Gabaldon’s latest on my Kindle and can’t wait to read it. I was lucky to discover her books a little late so haven’t had to wait years for the next one. They were all out, except for the last couple but I thought they were worth waiting for.

I also love JD Robb’s books.

Like Piper, I like Philippa Gregory’s books.

Sandy Elzie - June 19, 2014 - 9:34 am

Hi Connie,
Hummmm, well, I love writing series, so maybe I’d have to start with my own (Duty Series and my upcoming Georgia Heart series written as Sandra McGregor) and then I’d have to said one by Marie Force’s Fatal series and several of Nora’s…The Brides and the McGregors. I’m currently reading a series by Susan Kearney…Hide and Seek.

Tamara LeBlanc - June 19, 2014 - 9:39 am

Hey Connie,
I agree with you, series can sometimes end up like an old married couple (BTW, loved your analogy) I can’t imagine writing 12 books about the same couple…but then again, I’m not Nora. I think it WOULD end up getting very boring. I like series that share a town or a family or a profession, but the romances are between new characters with new issues. One of my very favorite series is Linda Lael Miller’s Vampire series. I LOVED those books and have read all of them over and over again. She’s no longer doing vampires though…she’s into cowboy series now. I’m not feelin it.
And Outlander rocks, I can’t wait to see it on Starz!!!
Have a happy writing day!!

Constance Gillam - June 19, 2014 - 10:11 am

Piper, Marilyn, Sandy and Tamara-

WHY are these series your favorites? What keeps you buying the books?

Piper - June 19, 2014 - 10:42 am

I think a certain kind of continuity is reassuring to readers and for people who plan out series successfully, they do have an ongoing question that compels folk to continue to read. In the Fatal series, there are two ongoing questions: Will Sam ever have a baby? and Will she ever figure out who shot her father? People keep reading because they have to find out, I think…

Connie Gillam - June 19, 2014 - 11:08 am

Thank you, Piper!!

That’s what I was looking for, an ongoing question that goes unanswered. I’d forgotten about that hook.

In the Outlander series, each book ends on a hook, so you wait for the next in the series. In the “In Death” series, the hook is not there. Nora has already said there will be no baby for Eve. It would destroy the dynamics of the relationship between her and Roarke.
In the Fever series, the big hook is: will Mac and Barrons get together.

Pamela Varnado - June 19, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Whenever I finish a good book, I always wonder what happens next to the characters. Reading a series usually fulfills that need. If the plot and romance are kept fresh and exciting, I never get bored or feel like they’ve become an old married couple. My favorite is Christine Feehan’s Dark Series. I love her Carpathians and have read each book at least twice. I also couldn’t put down Brenda Joyce’s Deadly Series. It’s set in turn of the Century New York City and the romance between Francesca Cahill (crime solver extraordinaire) and Calder Hart (millionaire bad boy) is steamy!!

Sia Huff - June 19, 2014 - 8:46 pm

Hi Connie,
Sorry I’m late. Great post. When you’re talking series, you mean the same couple in all the books. I’ve only read Janet Evanovich’s, Stephanie Plum series. I stopped after 7 or 8 – not enough character growth for me. But I loved her humor.
I’ve read Harry Potter all the way through – but that’s not a romance – and I normally don’t read YA or paranormal. I couldn’t wait for the next installment.
What kept me buying the books – I loved the characters, wanted to know what happened next. I think it helped that JK Rowling had the series planned out from the beginning and made the overarching arc so epic.

Deanna Brewster - June 19, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Hi Connie there are several series I loved reading. One being the Outlander Series. Although there was a long wait for Echo In The Bone and as of yet have not read it. Although I have every intention on completing the series. The Left Behind series riveted me I couldn’t put the book down staying up until the wee hours. I kept thinking could this really happen. I was hooked on these books from the every first one. Not only were the characters interesting but the story was thrilling! The next series I fell in love with was years ago the Windhaven series. I read all 14 books twice. I loved this series because of the history taking you from 1789 to the late 1800’s. I love books that bring out every emotion. And keep you wondering what’s next !

Debbie Kaufman - June 19, 2014 - 9:28 pm

Hey Connie,
I’ve recently gotten hooked on series books. Hubby and I have been sharing the books. We recently finished Jeanine Frost’s series with Cat and Bones. We recently started Kenner’s Carpe Diem, a series about a demon fighting soccer mom.

Connie Gillam - June 19, 2014 - 11:22 pm

Thanks, Pam, Sia, Deanna and Debbie.

There are a bunch of great series out there. Sia, I think you explained it well. The author has to carry the character arc over those series of books. That growth is what keeps us coming back for more.

Pam Asberry - June 20, 2014 - 12:23 am

I think the only series romance I have read is Jan Karon’s Mitford books. I guess I’m more of a single title kind of gal!

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