Keeping up with the Characters

Recently I examined my reading habits as of late. I realized that I gravitate towards series and not only just series, but series with recurring characters. Normally, you find this trait in a lot of fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction and paranormal books. Then you have mystery, thriller and contemporary genres that have characters in the same world but not necessarily recurring. My current read is actually a crime, romantic suspense drama that features recurring characters for a whopping 11 books so far and it got me thinking. I had to do a lot of research to find this series and a couple of others that made the list but why is it that I feel I need recurring characters in order to hold my interest in a series?

First things first, when creating a fictional world, many players are to be expected. You have your main two which are usually a male and a female, two of each, or some other variation and they are surrounded by sub characters who you slightly connect with, maybe grow to love, but the focus isn’t really on them. After the first book however, things are subject to change. One such series that I’ve read (Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh) features the main characters Raphael and Elena in the first and second book and then the next couple books are focused on members of Raphael’s team but then the book after that circles back to Raphael and Elena, and so forth. I quite enjoy this series but I wonder if I keep reading it because it circles back to R&E even though I’m not necessarily invested in the side characters?

But then you take a world where the same two characters are in every book and you are watching them learn and grow more and more about themselves. For example, the series I’m reading now that I mentioned above, the Fatal Series by Marie Force, the time span between the first book and the second book is a week. Last week was focused on the murder case of a United States Senator and this week its a US Supreme Court Justice with the personal everyday dramas of the main characters involved. The main woman is a cop who struggles with dyslexia and is obsessed with solving the case that left her dad a quadriplegic and you have the man who’s in love with her but is struggling to try and make a life with her while dealing with his own career as well as the loss of some people closest to him.

This attachment I form to people that don’t even exist is pretty intense. I find that it’s becoming harder and harder for me to read a standalone because I end up wanting more even if it means reading about different characters in the same world, with loose connections to the mains, in the hopes of getting a glimpse of life after book one for those mains I connected with. Then I think about my Netflix watching habits and it’s like watching a TV series versus a movie but not at the same time. I can watch a movie and be content with it ending but when it comes to books, I just have a really hard time.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was to get an idea of what you, my fellow readers, think of series with recurring characters versus series with different characters each book. Do you find yourself becoming attached from the first two characters at the start? I realize that a lot of books do end well or have a subsequent spin off series to completely tie up loose ends with all characters involved but do you ever find yourself wanting more with certain books or book genres versus others? Let me know in the comments below!

Night Whispers

Over the past month and a half I’ve probably been in love with 4 different men. Here’s the best part…I’ve never met them.

If you’ve ever picked up a book you couldn’t put down you’ll understand where I’m coming from. If you’re looking for a book, or a series of books, that you won’t want to put down, I highly recommend trying Judith McNaught . If you like mystery entangled in romance dipped in rich character development this is your girl!

I just finished Night Whispers last night. I wanted to move to a different series this morning but couldn’t bring myself to leave my last relationship with Noah (and of course Sloan). The cool thing about this series is that no one book relies heavily upon another. You have bits and pieces of old relationships and characters that flutter in and out of view but none are really reliant on you reading her other books. …but I bet you’ll want to. 😉

Take this book to the beach, the waiting room, or to bed. …just make sure you grab a glass of wine and your robe because you’ll get sucked in.

“The two of them simply weren’t attracted to just any attractive, eligible man; they were attracted rarely, but when it happened, it was evidently a life-altering experience.” – Night Whispers, Judith McNaught

Book rant

I just finished a book series that took me longer than usual to read. It was by an author I’ve read before and absolutely loved the first series. My usual reading genres are paranormal romance, sci-fi and contemporary romance/thrillers; sometimes a little bit of historical romance thrown in every once in a while. There are many sub-genres off the main ones such as urban fantasy, steampunk and space operas. Then you have Adult, YA (young adult), NA (new adult) and so on.

The general basis of any book to determine the genre is characters and the world. If your book is set in the 1600’s  and has a Downton Abbey feel, you’re looking at a historical romance. But if it its set in the 1600’s and has boulders than can transport you back in time then you’re looking at a historical paranormal romance. Adult genres are usually based off the character’s age. Early 20’s and up is considered adult. 15-18 is young adult. Anything lower than age 15 is not usually a genre I explore; at least for now anyway.

The series I just finished was considered YA and NA. The character started the story at age 18 but ended up being about 23 or 24 by the end of the series. I’m not an expert but blending the lines between a young adult and a “new” adult can come easily to some authors and not so much for others. It’s that stage between leaving school and going off on your own whether it be college or some other route depending on the world you’re in. The story I read consisted of a young girl, a senior in high school, going through a transition from being a regular human to trying to find her place in the world with her friends. She ends up finding out she’s not completely human and that sets up the rest of the books in the series.

When you read a pilot or even watch a pilot you jump end expecting it to start out slow. You know the author (or director) is trying to build your imagination by creating a world and the characters in your mind. They want you to get to know the people and the places. They want you to grow attached to some and hate others. It’s necessary to keep your interest. They want to take you on this amazing, exhilarating, heart pounding, addicting ride. They usually succeed. You dive in deep, get comfortable and ready yourself to ride it out. You get so attached that you can hardly think of anything else except what is going to happen next. You expect the cliffhangers, crave them even because of the feelings they’ll leave you with.

And then you get to the last book in the series. The finale. The world was built. You have guesses, expectations, hopes. This is how I was feeling with the last book in my series. Halfway through I got excited, shocked, and sad. My guesses, expectations and hopes changed. I’m in the last 100 pages. This is it. The war is finally happening! THIS IS IT! And then — fade to black. What the hell? If you aren’t familiar with fade to black it’s essentially when you get the moment you’ve been finally waiting for but instead of getting the moment in detail you get a “5 years later” epilogue that looks back on your moment in a paragraph or two. I’m screaming inside. I feel like I wasted so many sleepless nights. I got past the YA/NA blend, the lame phrases and the questionable missing moments. I had my plot. It grabbed me and I held on! What do I get for that? A rushed ending. Why???

This pretty much ends my rant. I’m going to try a new series by an author I’ve never read before recommended by one of my favorite authors directly on Twitter. Crossing my fingers.

Eleventh Grave

If you are what you read…then what exactly am I? A romantic walk on the beach at sunset? A shattered glass of wine and a screaming wife? A paralyzed author entrigued by the owner of a publishing house? …the grim reaper? (The last one may be my personal fav.)

One of my latest reads has of course (like most of them) come from my bestie and partner in crime. You’ll all get to know her well if you choose to follow us in any capacity, and I encourage you to, because she’s great…and super helpful!

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by the talented Darynda Jones has definitely made my last week great! This is a book series of 11 books so far (soon to be 12) and is nothing short of romantic, thrilling, and mysterious. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve had major anxiety at times during this ride with Charley and Reyes. The two main characters come from two different worlds (literally) and have converged on earth to do some really wild and crazy stuff.

If you’re someone who likes authors who actually responds to their fans you’re in luck! The book I’m holding in my hands is an actual signed first edition copy. You can chat with Darynda, have webinars with her, and ask her any of the super important questions you have about her work! (She’ll even Tweet you back!)

If you’re looking for a fun, easy, romantic read this is a great series for you! You’ll get sucked in and really bond with the characters through all of their ups and downs! On behalf of both of us at RT, we highly recommend it!

Happy reading! 🙂