The Standalone Novel and the Twelve Vampires of Not-Christmas

Want a new Kindle? In honor of Susannah Sandlin’s upcoming (June 12) release of her debut paranormal romance, Redemption, she’s doing “The Twelve Vampires of Not-Christmas” for the next twelve days, with a giveaway of Redemption for every day between now and June 12, so head over there each day to see who made her Top-12 list, starting with No. 12 and working up to No. 1. Click HERE and leave a comment to win! (Oh, and did I mention she’s giving away a Kindle?)

Now, here at Preternatura we aren’t talking about vampires today. We’re talking about standalone novels. Specifically, the fact that there aren’t very many.

I have mixed feelings about that. I love series. LOVE LOVE LOVE series. In fact, I’d estimate ninety-plus percent of what I read is part of a series.

But, and it’s a big but, I’m pretty anal about not reading series out of order, which means if I get an ARC or see a book I find intriguing and it’s number three…or five…or eleven…of a series, I often reluctantly pass it by because my reading time is so limited. It’s why I’ve missed out on the by-all-accounts awesome series by Jennifer Estep and Ilona Andrews. By the time they hit my radar, I was so behind I knew I’d never catch up. I made an exception based on you guys, and finally dug into Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series last fall, although I got busy with my own writing and haven’t progressed past number four. (They’re waiting, though.)

Some series are on my automatic-buy list: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Mercy Thompson, Dresden, Sookie…the usual suspects, in other words. Some closed series–like Twilight, for example–I finally succumbed to peer pressure and bought all the books and read them at once. The Hunger Games trilogy is in my TBR pile. (Okay, once a TBR pile tops 250 titles, it’s no longer actually a “pile,” is it?)

But sometimes I want a book to read without committing to a whole series, and I have trouble finding something.

Anyway, what do you read? Are you a series person? Do you wait until a series has a few titles out before you dig in? Do you find standalone titles very often? Any standalones you could recommend? Inquiring minds want to know!

And head over to Susannah’s website to see who made #12 on the 12 Vampires of Not-Christmas list, and leave a comment to win Redemption…and a Kindle.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

17 thoughts on “The Standalone Novel and the Twelve Vampires of Not-Christmas

  1. Series person all the way. My current favorites are: Kim Harrison Hollows series, Carrie Vaughn Kitty Norville series,
    Jennifer Estep The Elemental Assassin series, Faith Hunter Jane Yellowrock series,
    Suzanne Johnson Sentinels of New Orleans series, Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire series, Jeaniene Frost Night Huntress series,
    Adrian Phoenix The Maker’s Song series & Jeri Smith-Ready WVMP Radio series. These are all on my auto buy list. The only book I can think of as a stand alone is Mellisa Marr’s Graveminder. My TBR pile is also over 250 books – what should we call it? A mountain!

  2. LOL–Glad I’m not the only one with a TBR Mountain! I should have added the Kitty Norville and certainly Kim Harrison to my list, too 🙂 (And thanks for including me!)

    Am thinking about either the first book in Jane Yellowrock or Elemental Assassins for the next book club read!

  3. Yeah, I’m a series girl, too, and I usually have to start at the beginning. It took me months to find the first JD Robb book! (without, yannoh, ordering it on Amazon). My husband can just start in the middle and read his way forward or back…I don’t get that, but, whatever!

  4. The Book Club – would be a tough choice, Jane Yellowrock or Elemental Assassins. I would vote for Jane Yellowrock for the New Orleans tie-in. And the vampire Leo Pellissier.

  5. Sometimes I like a standalone, so I don’t have to play catch up on a lot of titles. One that is an excellent standalone is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I wish it weren’t a standalone, I really hope she revisits Sunshine and her world someday.

  6. Brandon Sanderson, the guy who is finishing the Wheel of Time series, also has a couple of stand-alones that are excellent. Warbreaker and Elantris are both worth the read.

    Leanna Renee Hieber has a standalone gothic romance, related to one of her series. It’s the only I’ve read of hers so far (I bought the series for a friend’s b-day and couldn’t resist getting one book for myself), but I really enjoyed that one, too.

    I usually am a series person, with the quirk that I prefer series made to have definite ends, be it a quartet or seven-book set (septet?) I always get the feeling that open-ended series degrade in quality over time if there wasn’t a definite end in the author’s mind before the beginning.

  7. I’m a series person and the same as you. I HAVE to read a series in order. It drives me nuts if I accidentally read out of sequence.

  8. I read both series and stand alone books when I can find them. My favorite authors of stand alone books are A Lee Martinez and Patricia McKillip.

  9. I can do both, though I lean far more towards series work. But UF(or PNR) isn’t my goto genre, which fits me fine because I’m not one for ongoing or open-ended series. I gave it a shot back in the day with LKH but got burned when the Anita Blake books turned into porn-on-a-page. I’m only now trying to read a little more UF, mostly with new writers so I can read each book at launch and be all caught up each time. (Sadly, financial woes have set me back and I haven’t picked up Royal Street yet, but I will when able!) I also plan to eventually read the Dresden books since he seems to be ‘IT’ when it comes to UF.

    I primarily read fantasy and some sci-fi. Fantasy tends to lend itself to (sometimes) long sweeping epic series, but almost always with a set number of volumes. Sci-fi lends itself much better to the stand-alone or trilogy format. But of course there are examples that break with the pack in both cases.

    For fantasy, their are some great stand alones. Brandon Sanderson, as mentioned, has a couple. Personally, I loved Warbreaker and only enjoyed Elantris. I recently read Talion: Revenant by Michael A Stackpole and really liked it. A great stand alone, but still has the potential to have a sequel someday, which the author has said he’d like to do.

    For sci-fi, you can’t go wrong with certain classics. I’d recommend giving some Robert A Heinlein a try, especially The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson is also pretty fantastic.

    But I’m getting a little off topic with recommendations. I also am a person that HAS to read a series in order, so I have the same trouble as you jumping in anywhere but the starting point. And that makes reading a series that’s already 10+ volumes in (Dresden!) pretty difficult. Would actually cause some strange anxiety in me. Because I commit wholly. I don’t want to start a series and give up on it. If I begin Dresden, it’s a commitment to all the books. For me, it’s not easy to just read the first and decide to go on or not. My OCD-quirks don’t like that.

    And I’ve lost track of everything/anything I wanted to say. So, we’ll call that my 1 1/2 cents.

  10. Thanks for the comments and suggestions, guys–I’m definitely going to have to check out Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker. You’re right, Spaz, I think sci fi lends itself to standalones better than some other genres. As for Dresden, I think there are omnibus editions now, which make it easier but it is still hard to catch up with a series that long.

  11. I’m both a series and standalone person. I like series because it means I get to visit a characters world and meet them all over again, though I can’t read series straight through even if the books are all available because then I’ll get bored so in between I like to read some standalone books. I would prefer for releases in series to not be too far apart, a couple of months instead of once a year because then I might forget about the world!

  12. I’m both a series and standalone person. I like series because it means I get to visit a characters world and meet them all over again, though I can’t read series straight through even if the books are all available because then I’ll get bored so in between I like to read some standalone books. I would prefer for releases in series to not be too far apart, a couple of months instead of once a year because then I might forget about the world!

  13. I feel the exact same way as you do. I love series but I to skip them if I can’t read them in order. I just read book 2 in the Blood Rights series so now I’m going to read a stand alone for a mini break and then strat on book 3 =) I like to get more of the same characters that I like but I also just want a no strings attached book sometimes as well =)

  14. Sometimes a series author writes a stand alone novel. I liked Black Magic by Cherry Adair for instance.

  15. I meant to mention in my first comment how much I love that pic because you’re in such great company!! In a bunch with J.V. Jones who has some really great stuff, Robert Jordan and his amazing Wheel of Time books, N.K. Jemisin who is a fairly new but really hot author right now, and my all-time favorite Robin Hobb!