The series and novellas trend

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend. Today I’m back with another bookish discussion and sharing my point of view about book series and novellas. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

One of the biggest struggle of every bookworm out there, could be summed up in three words: TOO MANY BOOKS. With blogging, Goodreads and just basically, all the books being published every year, it is so, so hard to find what we want to read, what to read next. As if our bookworm lives weren’t hard enough as it is, there’s another problem added to this… BOOK SERIES.

They come in a pack, like the Friends gang, you need to get them all at once to fully understand and love their glory and amazingness. It’s both an incredible gift -because yay, MORE BOOKS to read, and who DOESN’T want that?-, and an enormous struggle -because this means, COMMITMENT. Whether you are afraid of bookish commitment, or not, you have no choice, these books come in a pack. When you’re starting something, usually you want to finish it, especially if it’s something you love – I mean, why would you want to give up?

Then there are the novellas. Unlike book series, they are not mandatory reads. They kind of fit in the category of side kicks, little stories that allow us to explore a character in more depth, understand where they come from…They speak up where the book series couldn’t, either because it was too busy focusing on one main character’s journey or just because it wasn’t relevant at the series. If there’s something novellas prove, it’s just how much thought the authors give to each and every single character – their background stories, their personality, everything.

It seems to be a trend, now and since a while ago: books come in pack, in series, and even when you might think you’re starting to read a lovely standalone, it ends up surprising you by being part of a series, a duology or basically, there is MORE. Whether it’s short stories or long stories.

But does every single book has to go on? Does a series always mean more greatness? Book series allow the reader and the writer to get so, so much more out of the world and the characters they create. They allow us to explore the world more, to have it well more developed, complex. They give us enough time to fall in love with the characters and get to know them as much as if they were REAL. But are they always necessary? Do we always need more books – or would the first book be enough, at times ? Case in point: sometimes, the first book ends up being a bit on the slower side of the spectrum, with the characters’ personality barely brushed, only to develop more into the second book and finally take the good pacing, rhythm and development we were already waiting for in the first book. Does this, at times, feels like a trick for us to make us go on with the series – or am I just reading into this too much?

If you ask me, book series and novellas are a trend, but they are not necessary every single time. With complex worlds and characters, it’s the best way to let us explore everything in details. When the intrigue is big enough and with interesting subplot to develop. Who can ever imagine Harry Potter being one single book? I can’t. On the other hand, sometimes it’s totally unnecessary for the books to go on as a series, or to go on for so many books…Perfect example at hand would be the Pretty Little Liars series which went on for 10 too many books, if you ask me. When there is no more character evolution, plot evolution and it gets repetitive, well…It’s just not worth going on, is it?

Let’s chat! Do you tend to read more series or standalones ? What do you like / don’t you like about both of these genres ?

Do you, sometimes, feel like a series goes on too long – or, on the contrary, one standalone could have easily been a series? Do you have examples in mind?

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

93 thoughts on “The series and novellas trend

  1. I like me a good series, but it’s mainly bc I don’t want the story to end…when it goes on longer than it should, it’s just disappointing. I think Uglies went on too long. I think Maze Runner went on too long and STILL made no sense to me. I think Allegiant killed the Divergent series. But I also would have loved more Twilight! So I guess I’m up in the air and depending on the series (that’s at least what I’m trying to say, lol).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH you have read Uglies?! I feel like no one has read that series ahah. I thought that the Uglies series shoud have ended with Specials, a trilogy was okay, Extras just…wasn’t worth it ahah.
      And Allegiant, well…just, WHY.

      Like

  2. I like novellas tbh, I guess because they give just the right amount of background info for certain situations. I did feel the The Mortal Instruments went on too long. She originally planned for a trilogy and then doubled it so it felt kind of drawn out and forced.

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    1. Oh I had no idea The Mortal Instruments were supposed to be a trilogy! It makes me a bit sad how sometimes authors doesn’t seem to know where the story should stop :/ Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly, I never read the novellas that go along with series. They feel totally ancillary to me; tacked on pretty much just to make the publisher a bit more money in the end. I can’t imagine that they add much to the main story save for a little bit of extra characterization. I just have way too much to read to bother with short stories that weren’t important enough to include in the main series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand your point. I rarely ever read novellas – I feel like there are so many books to read, and except if I really love a series or a particular character, I don’t take the time to read these little stories.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Series do indeed seem to be filling the market lately.
    Intersting topic for sure. I find it reassuring to know that even if I finish one book there is another one continuing the adventures, if you know what I mean.
    P.S. Just found a great deal for all The Divergent Series so I might be biased haha

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m more of a series fan but when it comes to contemporary I prefer standalones.And about novellas, I am not a big fan of them but I don’t hate them either. Sometimes novellas are pretty fun to read, for example, Fairest in The Lunar Chronicles provided a much-required perspective about Queen Levana and it was a pretty great read.

    Loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are some series out there where I definitely think the first book was the best one of the bunch, and the rest went on to really disappoint me. More often than not, though, I’ve realized that my favorite series are actually four to six books on average, so, it seems to me I’m more a fan of longer series (even though I’m really bad at trying to finish them). 😂

    I feel like novellas have started becoming mandatory now though. It seems like every YA series is like, “Here, a novella in between the sequels! Or here, a collection of short stories!” A large majority of the time, unless they’re necessary for the series, I usually just never get to them. When I’m faced with my TBR, I’m just more likely to choose a new book, then a collection of short stories, if that makes sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that totally makes sense – that’s the reason why I don’t turn to novellas too much, I feel like with so many books to read, it’s not worth it at times. And maybe it’s not necessary everytime, I agree? I mean, sometimes it provides a bit of back story for sure, but just like you said, it’s like a trend and you just CAN’T go without a novella, which makes me wonder…so the series alone isn’t well-developed that you absolutely need novellas on the side? I don’t know if that makes sense ahah. Thank you so much Mikaela!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I totally agree with this – there is a lot of value in realizing when a story has reached a natural conclusion, and draw it to a close in terms of publishing. TV shows make the mistake of carrying on way too long A LOT. And it means that after a while, the storyline feels so forced, and a lot of people stop watching it… The same goes for book series.

    As a writer, I decided to make my series “book-ended” (sorry for the pun) – before I started writing book 1, I determined a number I wasn’t comfortable going over. Originally it was 4, then went to 6, and may be hovering around 7, but I really think 6 will be it. Sometimes I consider if it’s possible to put in everything truly necessary to my main storyline/characters into 4 novels, after all – and then write one or two novellas to “compensate.” But I need to be true to the story, and the protagonists, and all of that – you know, artistic integrity.

    But also, I don’t want my readers to go, “Enough already!!!” There needs to be a balance.

    Great discussion topic. I think you’re quite right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, so many times TV shows keep on going, season after season, and there is just no point, it’s not going anywhere anymore and it makes me sad to see that they just can’t seem to stop at the right time 😦
      I understand, and I think it’s so great that you can find the right balance to tell the story of your characters without rushing it, but also without making it too long. Just the right amount. I guess it’s a bit hard to find the right balance though, but…it has to be found, right?
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree! Series and novellas are the trend right now, but sometimes, standalones can do much more. Less is more, sometimes! I think especially contemporaries are good as standalones. I don’t know of any contemporary series??? Sometimes, I think that series are necessary, because then all this plot will be in one huge book, but sometimes, it’s really not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, erm…I can’t think of a single contemporary series either. OH YES. There is the Summer I Turned Pretty series, by Jenny Han (3 books). Okay, that’s all haha. I’m glad we agree! 😀

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  9. Lately I have been reading and buying more standalones, because I have so many first-book-of-a-series books. I really like reading series because that way you get to spend more time with the characters you love and you will create a strong ‘bond’ with them. But a good standalone can make you feel as attached to a character as a series. Sometimes I want more out of a standalone, with a second book or a novella, and sometimes I read a first book in a series which could have been a standalone in my opinion.

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  10. I will always choose a standalone. I have a habit of getting stuck halfway through a series and forcing myself to finish it or sitting there stuck for years. This year I am trying to finish up all my partial series and I only want series on the go at a time. I am not someone who can binge on a book series, I don’t like to read the same author back to back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhh I don’t binge read series either – I feel like I need a little break everytime before getting into the next book ? Forcing yourself to finish a series is no good though, reading should be fun after all 🙂

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  11. I love series because by the end, I’ve grown attached to characters and I don’t want it to end. I kinda of want more.
    But I also love standalone because I can’t always read long books so something quick and easy to read is great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so agree with you here, I love it when I’m so invested into a series and it kind of feels like coming home whenever I open the book again. I love it ❤ Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve never really thought about whether things like series or standalones could be trending (if that makes sense). As is I tend to read more series than standalones simply because fantasy is always my go-to genre and there are just more series there. The few fantasy standalones I have read have been somewhat disappointing simply because you need the time of more than one book to fully develop the world.
    That said I don’t always read the novellas. It’s only is a book series is a favourite of mine (like The Lunar Chronicles for example) that I’ll pick up every book I can get my hands on no matter how long or short it is. There have been series that have gone on for too long in my opinion, but for the most part if it’s a favourite series of mine I just can’t get enough, no matter how many books are released I’m always going to want more! 😀
    Great post as well Marie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! ❤ I'm happy you enjoyed reading it. And yes, oh, The Lunar Chronicles, I don't think I will ever get enough of that series. I still need to get my hands on the novella about Levana!:)

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  13. I read a lot of fantasy, so of course I’m pretty caught up in a bunch of series. But if a book is going to grow into a series, I expect there to be some pretty interesting macro-plotting going on, some sort of arc that holds all of the books together nicely while still being able to give us a sense of resolution along the way. I can’t STAND “the neverending series,” as I’ve started calling them, where the author is clearly just writing more books to write more books. That used to be all that I read, but at some point, it’s just too much of a commitment. I would rather read the first 2 or 3 books of an author or world I haven’t experienced yet than the 14th book of a series that is getting pretty bland, you know?

    Great post!
    ~ Michelle @ FaerieFits

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    1. Oh I understand, and I feel the same way. I love it when, in a book series, everything just fits together despite the sub-plots in every single book, and the whole finale ends up just, being there, making sense, tying up everything together neatly and beautifully. I love when that happens. I hate when it seems like the series just lost its point and the author just writes to write more about the characters but it doesn’t seem to follow the original storyline anymore.
      Thank you so much, Michelle! ❤

      Like

  14. Awesome post- I do really like series, but I do think they go on a bit too much. But I am very reluctant to read the novellas unless I get them from a library or are free, cos I tend to see them as a bit unnecessary (and, dare I say it, just a bit of a money spinner). I very rarely read a standalones that I think should’ve been a series though!

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  15. I personally like stand alones more because 1. The genres I enjoy generally have stand alones and 2. I can’t commit to series like????? The only time I’ve wanted a sequel is with books (such as Ari and Dante or More Happy Than Not) where I just love the writing/characters/story so much that I need more. But my overall point for your debate is that stand alones are much much better in my opinion than series 😉

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  16. Very nice bookish post!! I love both to be honest although right now I read more standalones but the past few months it was about keeping track with series like The Young Elites or Red Queen. I don’t think we should compare. There are so maby types of books as there are people. So both is good 😃

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  17. I love both series and standalones, but it depends on the book. For contemporary, I prefer standalones. They’re usually pretty short and don’t require complicated plot and worldbuilding. On the other hand, fantasy need more space to expand its world building and characters arc. Even though I prefer series, it doesn’t mean that I love to read really long series. I prefer trilogy, or maybe 5 books series max. Too many books often make the series lost its original direction and make it not as fun as it is :/

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    1. Oh yes, I agree with you – I try not to get into series that are way too long because I am often disappointed with the last books, it loses its original direction and makes me a bit sad :/

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  18. Great post. Certainly got me thinking of the best presentation of my work in progress series. I had thought a series of four novellas but maybe I might instead merge a couple together to make a stand alone and a sequel only. Thanks for giving me food for thought!

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    1. Oh thank you, Jessica, I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 I have nothing against book series at all, but I do tend to be sad when there are too many books in a series and the world or characters or plot aren’t as developed as they could be with these extra books. I guess it’s different with every story, some fit in one book and others need more place to develop 🙂 Thank you, and best of luck for your writing! 🙂

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  19. As much as I love series, I much prefer to binge-read them because my mind absorbs things as much as a rock does. Zilch. Nothing. So I always enjoy a series more when I have all the books on hand. However, I love reading a good standalone, especially contemporary reads, intact I love it when they then get companion books that have different characters in them! Like Anna and the French Kiss! Lovely post! 🙂

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  20. I think this really depends on the book. It can be very great to have a series if you love the book, but sometimes the story is great on it’s own. I think to some extent it’s not something that bookworms have direct control over. I like books best when the first in the series can stand alone, and is enhanced by the next books, but it has it’s own story that is complete. That works so well for me. I also love series where different characters have POV books. I’ve read a couple of novellas and I like those, especially that they’re optional.

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    1. Ohh that’s such a good point there, Shanti. I agree that there is something beautiful about the first book in a series behind able to be read as a standalone. I love when that happens. Even if the end is a bit open-ended, you know you’re not feeling like you absolutely HAVE to read the next book.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! ❤ ❤

      Like

  21. AH, I do love series. I love them because, as you said, YAY more books! 🙂 More time to get lost into the world, to get to know the characters and to go on an adventure with them. There are series that I love so much that I could keep reading them (Harry Potter – Shades of Magic – Lunar Chronicles).
    But then part of the reason I love them is because they tell the right amount of story in the amount of books they have. Perhaps I would not love them if they went on much longer and lessened in quality. (Not books, but I have this problem a lot with tv shows, where the first 1-2-3 seasons are amazing, but then it just gets worse and worse until I have lost all love for the series as a whole.) Better to have a short, AMAZING series than a long series that gets worse as it goes on.
    But on the other hand, there are series out there, where you can kind of feel that they are only in series format for marketing purposes or because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Series where the first book was AMAZING and could have been a standalone, but then goes on anyway to be less amazing. Trilogies that stretch the story out so much, while it could have been a standalone or a duology. I can’t think of any examples right now though… (argh, bookish blackout!)
    I’m not really a novella reader either, and will only read them if I really loved the story and the characters it’s about. Mostly, I think they just get my hopes up and never end up being as satisfying as the books themselves.
    Great post, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes yes yes, agree with you so much about this. I feel like some series just ends at the exact right moment. I love that – I am amazed at how the authors can make everything fit together perfectly in the matter of a couple books. They are magicians. But yes, some do go on for too long, and I can think of a lot of TV shows that did not know how to stop at the right moment, which makes me so sad :/
      I feel the same way about novellas: if I love the story and characters, I always feel like I need more ahah.
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment! ❤ ❤

      Like

  22. I definitely agree that they can sometimes be unnecessary or leave me feeling used like your gif says haha. Sometimes a first book is just a giant ass prequel with the second book really having the development. Other times the First and Third book are the bulk of the story and the Second is just a stupid filler that really could have been unpublished & the story could have continued just fine. I think its a trend but also some authors legitimately want to make a trilogy or series. The latter are the ones that REALLY do a good job and the former are the ones that leave me feeling cheated (based on how I feel because I obviously don’t know the authors thoughts while writing). Publishers want the next big thing and trilogies or series are an easy way to make that happen.

    Great discussion!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Molly! I agree with everything you said, sometimes it’s the second book that feels a bit under the weather while other times it just brings all the development we were waiting for in the first book. Thank you 🙂

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  23. Honestly… I’ve never read a novella for a book series. I can’t be doing with the extra bits so I always skip them. Is that terrible?
    I definitely agree that sometimes series can really be dragged on. I’ve definitely read books especially like New Adult books where I’m like why are you carrying this on? Like leave it here. It’s perfect!! but no they throw some more non needed drama in and you’re just sat there like here we go again.
    Great post marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no it’s not terrible AT ALL haha, I tend to skip most of the novellas as well haha.
      I don’t read a lot of New Adult books but I’m sorry to hear that happens a lot, it’s always so annoying :/
      Thank you so much ❤ ❤

      Like

  24. It’s funny, I had a discussion post scheduled in the next two weeks about the perfect series length but I had to move it for a promotional post. But great minds think alike 😉

    I think sometimes novellas are trends. I see them often used as incentives to pre-order or get certain boxsets etc.

    I don’t think series are necessarily trends but I think trilogies are. There are SO MANY series that don’t need to be trilogies but totally are. Then you get that awful middle book that just bridges the stories together and not much else. I’m personally loving the duology trend right now because it cuts out the 2nd book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes great minds definitely think alike 😀
      OH yes there is something going on with duologies at the moment and it’ quite nice to have only two books to commit to, and I find that the stories as sometimes just as well developed 🙂

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  25. You make a lot of great points in this, Marie! Since I tend to read a lot of fantasy I’m definitely more of a series reader. I just really love how a series lets the characters be fleshed out even more as well as the world. It’s so incredible to get to explore little corners of a book world you don’t always get to see in standalones. Although, there are times when I need a break from series and have to read a standalone because sometimes it can be nice to have a one and done read. As for novellas, it depends on the series. If I’m really into the series then I always wish for novellas but if I’m not then I tend to ignore the novellas 🙈. And I have the perfect example of series that has gone on for way too long (and is still on going)! The Warriors books by Erin Hunter, I first started reading them when there was only two series (I was around 12). Now, it has around 5 or 6 series within the full thing and so many novellas that I’ve lost count. I stopped reading because I couldn’t keep up. It could have easily ended after the third series and been just fine. I really do think some series can go on for too long which is never good lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Melissa! ❤ Yes I just love how series allow us to explore a world more in depth, it's so great to follow a character's journey for so long 🙂
      wow, that's certainly a veeeeeeeeeeeeery long series – I get it, sometimes there are just so many books and you can't keep up, then lose interest in the series :/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should definitely read it.. OMG WHAT A FINALE IN THE WINNERS KISS 😘 … Please it should be your next read. You should just do Winner’s crime next … please read it and tell me how it was

        Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m definitely partial to series because we get to see more world, characters, and action! But I definitely think it becomes troublesome when the series extends 7+ books and should have been concluded in 5 (PLL!!!!!!!!) Series like HP just seem to work in 7 books, I think it was necessary and J.K. did a fabulous job with them whereas PLL and other YA mystery books like House of Night by PC Cast just go on and on about the same thing with no real plot (SO FRUSTRATING!) I feel like it also depends on when you start the series. I started reading PLL and House of Night a looooong time ago and eventually I grew out of both of them and had no interest in finishing because it just became repetitive. I’m not too big on contemporary but I prefer to read them as standalone or at most a series of 3 books! I really enjoyed this post, it was a super interesting topic of conversation, thanks for writing about this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh yes I’m so glad you understand the frustration coming with this PLL series. It was endless, really, and I gave up after what, 12 books I think ahah. It should have ended at the 4th, or maybe the 8th book would have been okay, still, but well… I guess she felt like going on forever ahah.
      Thank you so, so much, I’m so happy you liked it ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Lovely discussion post Marie!

    I am more of a standalone girl myself, HOEVER some of my favorite books are parts of a series. There are pluses and minuses with both, like you mentioned. I like standalones more because I like to read a variety of books, and don’t like to spend too much time within the same genre. Also, if I do read a series, I do NOT like waiting for the sequels to be released because it can take YEARS and by the time they come out, I’ve forgotten what has happened in the previous books… My biggest example of this would be the Outlander series. I love it, but I haven’t even read the most recent release (2015) because I read all the other books in 2009 and can’t even begin to remember everything in those gigantic books lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! ❤
      Haha oh I get it, sometimes it takes so many years for a new book to come out and you forget every single thing that happened in the previous book…and who has time to re-read everything? That's why I always tend to be nervous about starting new series as well, it takes commitment haha 🙂 Thank you! ❤

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  28. Great post, Marie!! I used to read more series than standalones, but I think lately I’ve been the opposite. There have been a lot of really amazing standalone books being published as of late, and so I’ve been leaning away from the series. I don’t like having to wait on the next book to come out, which is why I enjoy standalones. When the story is finished, it’s finished, ya know? No commitment or waiting. But there are also some really great series out there, too. Aghh, I don’t know… I love them both, really!! 😂

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  29. In general, i tend to like to read series. I love being able to live in a specific world book after book. But there’s nothing that annoys me more than starting a book thinking its a standalone and reaching the end only to get a cliffhanger that needs to be expanded to more books. I just think it’s such an underhanded way to get more books out of a publisher through reader demands. If you’re advertising as a standalone, it better be one complete story from beginning to end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I 100% agree with you here. It makes me so mad when it’s supposed to be a standalone and, at the end, you’re left hanging. It’s just crazy annoying :/ Thank you so much, Sara! ❤ ❤

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  30. I found this post interesting. Personally I don’t mind books set up to be a series if the world the author has created can support it. The trouble I find is many current series are being parsed out as episodes requiring you as a reader to continually get the next part just to finish the story. In a lot of cases I find that it can make it more difficult to stay interested enough keep buying them unless I can get them as sets and read them as I feel up to it.

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  31. Interesting discussion!
    A well-written series always has me worked up about when the next book is going to come up, and especially as a fantasy lover I think series is essential for the author to expand the world building further. But there are times when it’s taken too far and the series NEVER ends or when it strays too far from the original story. That annoys me because as a loyal fan I can’t not read, yet when I read it doesn’t give me much enjoyment!
    But for other genres like Contemporary, I often find standalones more appealing; if it’s a series I usually don’t have the motivation to continue it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I agree with you, I think fantasy requires more than often a lot more of development and I’m grateful when the series allow for that to happen. As long as it doesn’t last for like, 30 books and drag on and on. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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