May 21, 2022
Do you have a book series on your bookshelf?
Today for the May #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on Books in a Series.
First, I do love a good series. I love revisiting characters and their imaginary worlds. When you find a series to follow, it’s good fun to look forward to the next installment.
My love for a series most likely started with my love for Nancy Drew installments!
For this post, I’m taking a look back at several series I’ve enjoyed (some have ended and some are continuing). I love books in a series that can be read as stand-alones; however, reading the books in order of publication always provides a richer reading experience. (I’ll mention in the blurb if it’s important to read in order.)
***Hot Tip for GoodReads Users: Did you know that when you bring up a book that is in a series, you can click on the greyed-out text under the title to bring up an ordered list of all the books in the series? (see screenshot below….and note blue arrow and highlight)
I’m only listing series with more than 2 installments for this post.
In addition, this might be a good time to confess that I’m a strict “read-in-order” person!
Do you have a favorite book series?
Do you enjoy a book series?
Do you read a series in order?
***Titles in this post are Amazon affiliate links for the first book in the series.
Series I’ve Enjoyed
(in no particular order)
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache “Three Pines” Series by Louise Penny
As the title indicates, this is a mystery/detective series with generous sides of literary fiction, family values, morality, and ethics. Most of the stories take place in the quaint, fictional village of Three Pines located in Canada. In the stories, Three Pines is a symbol of a safe haven.
I’ve read all 17 installments in the series (usually released in August of each year). Some I’ve enjoyed more than others, and they range in Star rating from 3-5 (except The Cruelest Month which wasn’t to my taste at all and rated 2). Three favorites are A Trick of the Light, Glass Houses (review includes an overview of the series), and All the Devils are Here.
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
I’ve read all 21 installments! Overall, the books fall into the literary fiction genre, are heavily character-driven, and are solid 3-star reads. Some installments are more plot-driven than others (especially the earlier installments). The lovely setting of Botswana, the charming characters, the gentle themes, and thoughtful musings have kept me engaged in the series. Each installment is a pure comfort read. One of my favorites is The House of Unexpected Sisters.
The Moonlight Harbor Series by Sheila Roberts
This series can be categorized as chick-lit (women’s fiction) with thoughtful and substantial themes. Perfect beach reads. So far, this is a 6 installment series and I’ve read them all (best read in publication order). Beachside Beginnings (#4) is my favorite (not reviewed). It might be my favorite because I inadvertently jumped into the series here (breaking my strict “read in order” rule) and had to quickly read the previous installments the next weekend.
The Vicarage (The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite) Series by Kate Hewitt
What a LOVELY, gently written women’s fiction series! I’ve read all 4 installments and have enjoyed each one (equally) for its thoughtful family and sisters-supporting-sisters themes (and sides of closed-door romance). The first installment is actually a novella, so it’s one you could read quickly and evaluate for likability. These are solid 3.5-4 Star reads in the (light) women’s fiction genre.
The Hedgehog Hollow Series by Jessica Redland
So far this is a 5 book women’s fiction series. A bit more intense thematically and content-wise than the Vicarage series but still a closed-door romance. My favorite is Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow (#1) because it’s where we meet Samantha and Josh (main characters) and the setting is established. Each installment after the first is a spinoff (with some Sam/Josh storylines). Overall, the series falls into my 3.5-4 star range.
The Gilead Series by Marilynne Robinson
This is a loosely connected 4 book series…..I think of them as “companion reads.” I’m currently reading #4 (Jack). I categorize these books as beautifully written Literary Fiction because they are character-driven, reflect on the meaning and purpose of life, and address important themes. Gilead (#1) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.
Ghost (Track) Series by Jason Reynolds
Ghost is a Middle-Grade contemporary fiction 4 book series that I adore! The series is best read in publication order because there’s a little cliffhanger at the end of each read which is resolved in the first chapter of the next book. This is a 4 to 5 star series.
The Cornish Midwife Series by Jo Bartlett
This is a 4 book women’s fiction series and I’ve read all the installments. They can be read as stand-alones, but reading in publication order adds a richer context to the stories. Thoughtful themes (some intense content) that run through the stories include friendship, women supporting women, childbirth, and community. Of course, there are generous sides of romance as well (all closed door). The only one that I’ve reviewed on the blog is A Summer Wedding for the Cornish Midwife.
The Dakota Series by Debbie Macomber
This is a 4 book loosely connected women’s fiction series set in North Dakota. I noticed this series because the first book is called Dakota Born and I’m Dakota (South Dakota) born and it’s always fun to read books set in familiar locations! Each story focuses on individuals in the same small, rural, interconnected community and falls into my 3-star range. If you are a small town or country girl you might appreciate the setting. Reading in order provides a richer context for each story.
The Flower Series (I call it!)
A 3 installment very loosely connected historical fiction series includes Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, and Sunflower Sisters. Each book can be read as a stand-alone and goes back in time to tell the story of previous generations in the same family.
QOTD: Do you have a favorite series?
I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and Sue @ Women Living Well After 50, Donna @ Retirement Reflections, and Jo @ And Anyways…. for the May installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge. (***Sliding in under the wire with this post #betterlatethannever)
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.
I love a good series too – and prefer to read in order. If I come in part way, I’ll then go back and read from the start. Depending on publication I also will re-read the previous book in a series before opening the new one…I’m really not sure what that says about me lol! Thanks for linking up.
A good series is so satisfying! Thanks for commenting!
Thank you for linking up with us at #WOYBS. Sadly, I’m not much of a series reader (so many books, so little time) Having said that; I have greatlty enjoyed Jo Tracey’s series and Jill Weatherholt’s Whispering Slopes series
Thanks for the recs! 🙌
I love a good series and I’m devastated when they come to an end. One of my all time favourite series is “Into the Wilderness” by Sara Donati. I read quite a few of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and enjoyed them all. Will have to have a look at the other series you mentioned.
Thanks for commenting Alison! I binge a book series like it’s Netflix! Thanks for the rec!
Much better than Netflix!
Haha me too!
Love this post Carol! I do love a good series and have a few that I’m fully invested in. 😊📚
So fun when you can binge them!
Yes I did that with the Rivers of London series recently!
Back in the day when I read to my young son, if he enjoyed the story, he would immediately look at the back cover to see if there were more books in the series. I used to laugh because I am exactly the same way. Sometimes, I’m not ready to leave the characters and their stories.
I absolutely HATE when a book ends on a huge cliffhanger, and I have to wait a year or so for the next book. I don’t mind loose ends but please give a satisfying ending for each novel.
I think that reading the books in the right order is essential, even if they are stand-alone novels. Question: Sometimes an author will write a prequel after a book has been published. Should I read the prequel first or read by publication date?
Like you, I enjoy the Three Pines and #1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. I can’t comment on a post about series without mentioning Harry Potter. My son and I read them together and it was such an enjoyable experience.
I was addicted to the Nancy Drew series when I was young!
I totally agree…each book needs a satisfying ending!
I’ve often thought about those prequels as well! I guess if I haven’t read the series I would start with the prequel?!?! I’m not sure I even like the idea of a prequel after the fact.
I’m happy to hear that you and your son enjoyed HP! Thanks for commenting Adrienne!
I was a Nancy Drew addict, too! From memory, probably the first series I read by myself.
Hi Carol, I love a good series and always read them in order. I’ve read a few of the ones you’ve mentioned, started the Louise Penny Chief Inspector Gamache series and am enjoying them. I’ll note down some of the others as we seem to enjoy similar styles. The Cornish Midwife series are nice light easy reads. Thanks for joining in with us for WOYBS 🙂
I’m sure Nancy Drew is to blame for my lifelong obsession with a good series!
Yes Nancy, Trixie, Anne and all the others. I was raised on these series of books 🙂
Thank you very much for including the Hedgehog Hollow series in your list, Carol. Very honoured 🙂
My pleasure, Jessica!
The Louise Penny series is the only one on your list that I know but it’s one of my favourites too. I’ve read a few of them out of order however , just based on what I could get at the time. I used to buy them whenever I went to Michigan on a business trip but just had to rely on what was in the shop.
I have a dedicated bookshelf for my beloved Emile Zola books which I am ever so slowly reading through
Happy to hear we share the love for Gamache! The Penny books can be enjoyed out of order but reading them in order adds an extra layer of enjoyment. I love that you have a series waiting on your shelf to leisurely enjoy!
I have also been enjoying Louise Penny’s series a lot
Yay! 🙌 Thanks for sharing!
So many favorites 😉 Anne of Green Gables. Pretty much anything by Ted Dekker, most by Robin Jones Gunn
Thanks for sharing your favs! 🙌
Series reading is right up my alley! I’m doing 5 series group reads on Goodreads right now😏 Enjoy the challenge, Carol💜
Happy to hear we both love a good series!
Yes Carol, I follow many, many series and I have several favorites. I’ll admit most of my favorites are crime fiction series. And YES, I do attempt to read these series in order as I find valuable background to the characters can be found in the earlier books.
Have you read Penny’s Three Pines detective/mystery/crime fiction series since she’s a Canadian writer and they’re set in Canada?
Yes Carol I loved the first books in the series but I’m sadly behind. I think the last one I read was the 3rd in the series.
I have a weakness for a good fantasy series! I have many on my shelves.
You’re the Queen of fantasy! I even thought about my lack of fantasy when I wrote my post! 😂
I love a good series, Carol. I read so many that I often get behind. One series that I really enjoyed, The Blessing Georgia series by Sharon Sala has just ended. 13 books, clean, small community, faith based stories that I will miss. That is the downside of a good series, I guess.
Oh thanks for the rec Carla! 🙌
This is a series that got better over time.
So many of my books are series! It’s pretty common in fantasy
Yes! You are the queen of fantasy book series! 🙌
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