Standalones, Duets, Trilogies, Oh My.

Standalones. Duets. Trilogies…. Terms that are common in the literature world. These words tell a reader exactly what they´re getting themselves into before they purchase their next read.

But before we start, why not give everyone a quick reminder of what the true definition these words carry.

Standalone – A standalone is either a single book or a book from a series written by an author that doesn´t require a reader to have read the rest of the series in order to understand the plot. The book can stand on it´s own.

Duet – A 2 book story. Duo = Duet.

Trilogy – 1 connected / ongoing story available in a set of 3 books

Tetralogy – 4 books

Pentalogy – A set of 5 books

Hexalogy – 6 books

Series – A sequence of books

Novella – A long short story ( either connected to a story or a standalone )

And the list goes on and on and on….

 

There´s a wonderful large pallet of book sets ready for a reader to enjoy. But… are duets, trilogies and tetralogies really all that enjoyable? Or are author´s pushing their luck with their 5+ book series?

Here´s a little fun fact: Most book people ( bloggers and readers alike ) don´t even use certain terms when referring to a set / sequence of books. Any author that has published a connected story with 4 + books is called a series. Just as 3 books are a trilogy. No one goes out of their way to say they´ve read an awesome pentalogy.

Our book lingo is more simple. It´s either a standalone, a duet, a trilogy or a series.

Although, I have to admit that it does excite and amuse me when I see someone use ancient greek terms.

 

 

Since I lack the time to go out on the streets to do a proper book survey on the topic I´m just going to go ahead and grace you with my own personal observations regarding books, book sets and authors who beat the living daylights out of a story by stretching them into a 10 book series ( Oops, apologies for the passion I unleashed in that last sentence ).

For a reader, books and their series sizes are clearly a matter of preference. Some readers love when a story, written by their favorite author, never seems to find an end and some readers are delighted when a story stops after 3 books. It´s a split audience where no one wins or loses. There is no better or worse, right? Hmm…maybe.

For me… I´m not a fan of anything that´s blown out of proportion. I´m the type that´s totally fine with a story that finds an ending… and it stays that way.

For example: When I see a book I like and also see that it´s a standalone… I´ll not hesitate and buy it. But when I see it´s a book #1 then I feel a wave of disappointment wash over me.

  1. because it´ll usually take a year´s wait until a book #2 releases ( unless we´re talking Game of Thrones. I´ve lost all hope for the next GoT to ever be published in this century )
  2. because I have to invest more time in a story than intended.

Don´t get me started when I see a book #5. That makes me wanna cry on the spot.

Mind you, duets and trilogies aren´t off putting for me… I actually love a good ongoing story- As long as it´s well balanced and doesn´t give me the feeling of wanting to curse it to hell for not being in a single book instead of 3.

What would you think if I told you that standalones and series only work for certain genres? Okay, not really shocking news but it´s true. I´m a contemp. romance reader. Standalones are more common in the romance genre. Once in a while a trilogy trend will fly through and then us romance readers will be presented with the good ´ol standalones again.  Fantasy / Paranormal stories work differently.

A fantasy author faces world and character creations on a deeper level. It would be nearly impossible to stuff a well crafted idea into one single book and call it a day.

This is when book trilogies are born. Fantasy stories need space. They need to unfold and help a reader understand certain events. Most fantasy novels have a minimum of 3 books.

If a contemporary romance author publishes a romance trilogy then it´s usually a story that can be edited into a standalone or a duet. Because there´s no world creation. There´s only repetitive events until a climax is reached and the story ends. A contemp. romance author has to come up with one hell of a brilliant story to make it into a trilogy or else it´s just a waste of paper. What many contemp. romance author´s love to do is attach novellas to their stories ( to a standalone or series ). Something like a book # 1.5 and # 3.5. These are usually additional story info that´s not mandatory for the story itself. May this be for the dedicated fans that have been asking for MORE or the author wasn´t able to let go and move on…. some authors feel their characters need a Christmas special, an Easter hunt edition, or whatever, when there´s actually no need to continue a well ended story.

I might be shot for using this example but I´m going to risk it anyways.

For instance  – The Twilight Saga by author Stephanie Meyer.

Fantasy/Paranormal / Romance. 4 main books. ( not including exclusive fan material )

For fans of the series the author has graciously published a hardcover novella, dedicated to one of the sub characters, called `The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner` book #3.5. Then, a little over a decade later the author presents the book world with `Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined` book # 1.75.

Were the added stories necessary? Probably not. For some die-hard Twilight fans, maybe. But to publish an almost identical story to the one that was published a decade earlier… That´s just kicking a dead horse. Looking for the payoff of a joke that´s long vanished around  the corner. Milking the cow  But hey…. as long as there´s a book # 1.75 and a book # 3.5 then all is good.

 

 

Then there are authors who don´t know when to call it quits with their stories. Let´s take a closer look at J. R. Ward´s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. A very popular 16 ( and growing ) book series that´s left it´s safe haven after book #10. Maybe even earlier.

Elite vampires fighting against evil, all while having beautiful raunchy sex in between shower and nap time breaks. I flipping loved those books until…. they went off course.

And here´s the problem: I ( incl. many other fans of the series ) love the original BDB. But with each new book more sub characters were introduced and the author felt those characters needed their own books as well. Before readers knew it, the story drifted away and focused on the new instead of sticking with the old.

For me- This is a clear sign for the author to move on. Create a new series. Say bye-bye to the BDB. But the author keeps going and going and going. The magic is gone and I´m not interested anymore. Especially not when a series has 16 + books.

And while we´re doing book mentions here… let´s throw Outlander in the mix, shall we?

A time – travel romance set in 1945 and 1743, by author Diana Gabaldon. This epic story will pull the socks right off of any readers feet with it´s historical accuracy and amazing characters. That is…. until the story becomes exhausting. That happens around book 5 or 6. Too many added characters, too much history, too much of everything and that makes this difficult to enjoy the books. A series with 8 books and I lost patience after book #5. Now I´m just waiting for the story to end.

 

Of course, I understand that authors have ideas and stories they need to tell. Some of those stories need lots of attention. Some of those ideas need to be put down on paper. I get that and would never prevent an author from doing their thing.

It´s just that often ( if not always ) overly large series are unnecessary. Trilogies are unnecessary. Book #2.5,  # 3.75, and even book # 0.75 is totally unnecessary.

(These are just my humble thoughts on the subject. I´d love to meet someone who thinks otherwise, just to show me the beauty of the flip side.)

Adding books to a perfectly completed standalone, duet, trilogy does not make a story greater than it already is. Unless you´re a die – hard fan and can´t get enough of said story…. then I´m more than happy you´re happy.

So, if anyone´s interested…. I´m this type of reader:

Love standalones. Enjoy duets. Like trilogies. Dislike anything that has more than 4+ book in a series. Hate added novellas.

 

 

What are your thoughts on Standalones, duets and Co.? Do you enjoy reading large series or do you ignore them? Let´s chat. ❤


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Book Review: Up In The Air (Tetralogy) by R. K. Lilley

before and after

Published back in 2012, the `Up In The Air´tetralogy by author R. K. Lilley celebrated a great success and was announced “One of the hottest erotica novels available” and earned glowing praises from book bloggers across the globe.

That was back in 2012.

Since then the trilogy grew into a tetralogy, leaving a reader with 4 wonderful books about Bianca and James´ relationship. Their very steamy and sexy relationship.

I belonged to the lucky “Lusting after the highly dominant James Cavendish” parade back then… But what about now? After 6 years and 1 reread, do I still feel the same as I once did? Let´s find out! Before & After reviews for book #1 – #4


 

synopsis book 1 In Flight ( Up In The Air: Book 1 )

R. K. Lilley

 

When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can’t seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it. 

Bianca is accustomed to dealing with supermodels and movie stars in her job as a first class flight attendant, but James Cavendish puts them all to shame in the looks department. If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes.

My Thoughts 2

It´s not the books. It´s not even me. It´s the trend that has long passed that has turned this 2012  3 star read into a solid 2 stars. Okay. Maybe the books are the problem.

We all remember the dom / sub trend a few years back. There was hardly a book published ( or self published ) that didn´t have some crazed overly dominant Hero and a meek Heroine who always fought pitifully for her independence. This book definitely belongs in that category.In flight

`In Flight`Up In The Air: Book 1 by R.K. Lilley is a story about a billionaire who falls for a flight attendant. So, basically a romance but on a different level. And this would be a simple romance if not for the BDSM theme.

I don´t know….

In 2012 I kind of ignored the rather heavy dominant / submissive trope and just enjoyed the book. It´s an erotica / BDSM read. No biggy, right?

Well, after my recent reread I discovered a few things.

I don´t like dominant Heroes anymore. They´re full of themselves on so many levels. I´m grateful that trend passed and that my tastes have changed.

“Do this. Do that. Get naked. I´m gonna count….”  So bossy for no greater purpose other than to settle that sexual itch. To be honest- No man would ever come near me with that type of behavior.

The Hero, James Cavendish, is a kinky billionaire who has lots of answers to lots of problems. And many problems can be solved while staying in his bed. Oh, and he has nicknames kindly provided by the Heroine. Mr. Gratification, Mr. Moody, Mr. Mercurial, Mr. Incredible, Mr. BDSM…. The list is long and those are his names used as chapter titles. I remember not being too fond of him when I first read this book. Have my feelings changed after my reread? Yes. I´m now even less impressed than I was years ago.

And what happens when main characters aren´t to one´s liking? The story loses it´s appeal.

How on earth wasn´t I more appalled by his behavior? I mean- It wasn´t the sex I found appalling. The sex was okay. It was his behavior alone. And then Bianca….

Why her character was so eager to put up with someone like him is beyond me.

Still… the story felt a tiny bit unique to me back in 2012. Now? The book still carries that unique vibe but the enjoyment I used to feel is now flatter than a sheet of paper.

2 stars

 


 

synopsis book 2

Mile High ( Up In The Air: Book 2 )

R. K. Lilley

 

James and Bianca’s tumultuous story continues in the sequel to In Flight.

James has initiated Bianca into a dark and drugging world of passion and pain. He taught her about her own submissive, masochistic nature, and she fell swiftly and deeply in love with the undeniably charming and impossibly beautiful Mr. Cavendish, but a painful misunderstanding and the return of the brutally violent demon of her past have combined to overwhelm Bianca, and, confused and hurt, she pushes him away. 

It’s been over a month since the shocking attack that hospitalized her, and since she told a distraught James that she needed space, but her feelings haven’t gone away. Even she knew that it was only a matter of time before he would cast his spell on her again…

 

My Thoughts 2 My reread session for book two consisted of lots of skimming as I didn´t have enough energy to put up with more James Cavendish. Seriously… Why, in all that´s pink and fluffy, is he considered to be a swoon worthy character? And why the 2.0 drama? No, scratch that… `Mile High` ( Up In The Air: Book #2 ) has drama overload. And sex. Lots and lots of Duracell bunny sex. Mile High

I didn´t realize it then but now it somehow dawned on me that James and Bianca have a dysfunctional relationship. He´s weird. She has issues. And together they seem to find a middle ground. Bianca needs to be dominated and James is just the dude to get the job done.

I´m still convinced that Mr. BDSM has too many issues and needs life long therapy ( as they all do ). And Ms. I – have – an – opinion – but – let – it- get – run – over – by – kinky – James…. She needs to just concentrate on life without James.

This book was a 2013 3 star read that has also turned into a 2 star.

2 stars

 


 

Grounded ( Up In The Air: Book #3 ) R. K. Lilley

synopsis book 3 James and Bianca’s story draws to a close in the explosive conclusion to the Up In The Air Trilogy.

After a short but earnest courtship, Bianca can no longer deny her feelings for James, and though she’s tried her hardest, she can’t help but see that he cares deeply for her, as well. In a completely uncharacteristic move, she has put aside her misgivings and agreed to live with the enigmatic billionaire. Is her leap of faith the beginning of something wonderful, or is it too much, too fast?

As James and Bianca feel a growing need for each other that neither can deny, circumstances beyond their control intervene, trying to tear them apart. Amidst the ever mounting threat of a monster who wants Bianca dead, and the constant pitfalls of an indiscreet past that James can’t seem to escape, can these two passionate lovers manage to find their happily ever after?

 

My Thoughts 2 It´s definitely me that has changed as I´m pretty sure no one smuggled this series into my house just recently.

My reading experience from 6 years ago vs. my feelings now couldn´t be more drastic. I simply couldn´t

I was rereading, remember? With this one I had to quit before I could reach the end because I just couldn´t take it all anymore. Too many unnecessary details.. too much sub character involvement.. I´ve also been sexed to death by James and Bianca. Besides, I remember how the story ended. The final scene wasn´t explosive enough for me to want to reread it. grounded

`Grounded`( Up In The Air: Book 3 ) by R. K. Lilley received 3 generous stars back in 2012. Now? I´m not hesitating with a 1 star. 36-year-old me discovered that there isn´t much of a plot but there´s a whole lot of everything else that´s not informative enough.

In which emotional state does this book leave me? Frustrated. Tired. Pooped beyond words.

 

1 star


 

NOTE: I did NOT read book #4 in the Up In The Air series. As far as I´m informed `Mr. Beautiful` is just a rehash from the other books told from Hero´s POV.  POV books never make my priority list so…. mr beautiful

 

 
Now for my over – all opinion on the `Up In The Air` books.

 

The Covers: 2 – 3 stars 

The covers were never really anything overly eye catchy but they match, which is a huge bonus. At least a reader knows the books belong together. Sadly, the image quality of the paperbacks is down right cruel to the eyes. pixellated and blurry. I´m going to be honest here: If I had seen these books in a bookstore with the same horrible image quality then I would never have bought these books. I would never play money for poor quality on a cover. Then the model on the covers… On the one cover you can see that her shoes are a number or two too big for her feet. Really?

 

The Story: 2 stars

Yeah…. No. My 2012 opinion wasn´t as colorful as it is now. Right this moment I can´t seem to come up with a logical explanation as to why I enjoyed reading these books. Why I over looked so many things that usually bug the bejesus out of me. Too much sex, too much filler sex. Too many details. So little actual depth. The writing is simple and engaging but the story itself? There are way better BDSM / dom-sub books worth reading.

 

The Characters: 2 stars

I liked Bianca in book #1 and #2. She nearly killed my vibes in book #3. And James… Poor poor dominating, annoying billionaire hotel owner James just rubbed me the wrong way. He barks at Bianca while tying her up. Who barks at someone in a sexy moment? Who?! That´s many things but not sexy.

Then the sub characters…. They felt new to me during my reread, which tells me that I hadn´t paid attention to them during the first reading round. No more words needed there.

 

My emotional state BEFORE AND AFTER reading the `Up In The Air`books?

Erotica romance novels have to be written in a certain way for me to fully enjoy them. They have to have class, be tasteful and sensual and they have to make my panties change their color. Back in 2012 I remember not having a panty color change. Now, I don´t even want to think about it happening anymore. I think it´s safe to say that I don´t like this story… at all. sex

     2012 Rating                                                                               

3 stars                                  2018 Rating2 stars

 

All books can be purchased on Amazon.com

 


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