I recently finished a review book. The only other ARC I have on hand at the moment is for an April release, so I thought I’d reward myself by reading a book from my TBR pile first. So I started hunting. And I found either books from the middle of various series that I hadn’t even started yet or that I hadn’t caught up to, or books that started new series. I have so many series going that I feel like my head will explode, so I need to finish a few before I feel like I can start anything new.

It seems as though everything I find these days is part of a series. Sometimes I don’t mind this and I even crave sequels (Robin McKinley? I’d LOVE a sequel to Sunshine, if you please.), but it also overwhelms me a bit. I feel the pressure to keep up with so many series, and I just cannot do it. Or at least I can’t do it and still enjoy the reading.

Sometimes when I browse the racks at the bookstore, I am just looking for a nice afternoon escape. The array of books about the duke and his twenty brothers who all must find brides overwhelm me. Likewise the cozy series in which I swear not many people will be left standing in that charming small town after the likable heroine is done solving all those mysteries. I think this happens because I know all too well that I have started many a series excited at the prospect of reading, only to enjoy books 1 and 2, get a little tired after book 3, and then move on to something else.

There are a few series that I stay caught up with and pounce on any new releases. These are books that I just find too addictive to wait for. I might have a giant mound of review ARCs awaiting me, but the world will still stop while I read these series. The Gardella Vampire Chronicles come to mind in this category, as do the Laurien Gardner Wives of Henry VIII books, the Charles and Mélanie Fraser books (would someone give Tracy Grant a contract already? Please?) and Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac. The Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense series, Without a Trace, is getting mighty darn addictive for me, too. However, more and more I find myself buying the books and just putting them in the TBR pile. I get to them at my leisure, and if I happen to be finishing the series years after the last book was published, my enjoyment remains undiminished.

This has a downside, of course. I have to fight the urge to read spoilers on our discussion boards or on the blogs where I like to lurk and read. It’s also hard to be discovering books late when it means missing out on the discussion back when it was a new release. Still, one cannot keep up with every single book coming out each month, so I do what everyone else does. I prioritize. And I find that standalones get a certain priority simply because I know that I will be investing a few hours of my time all at once rather than feeling as though I will be committing to following a new trail of story across several books.

How do you feel about the plethora of series out now? Do you enjoy it? If so, what are your favorite series? Or, do you prefer to read the standalones?

-Lynn Spencer