I realize I’m preaching to choir here, but this is a great time to read. But if you’re like me, sometimes the books on your “to be read” list just don’t appeal to whatever you’re in the mood for. A good, go-to book series can be just the thing to cure this ailment – the characters are like old friends and you trust the author to deliver a good story.
I have a few series that I turn to when I just want pure entertainment. The books in these series will never win Pulitzers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have well-developed characters and well-executed plots. In fact, these books all have great stories and characters created by very talented writers. Here are some of my favorites.
Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
I still remember picking up the first book in this series at The Raven bookstore in Lawrence, KS in the mid-1990s. I loved it! And I also loved seeing the series take off and become a rousing success. Stephanie Plum is an unlikely bounty hunter, who attracts bad luck and a quirky cast of supporting characters. Throw in a love triangle with two hot guys and you have a recipe for funny, heartfelt and sometimes hair raising entertainment.
Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva
Pretty soon after ALS forced me to stop working, I posted a plea on Facebook for some book recommendations. I’m so glad my Army buddy, Maria, suggested the Gabriel Allon series because it’s one of my very favorites. Gabriel Allon is a legendary assassin for Israeli intelligence, originally taking out those responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 summer Olympics and now taking on current terrorist threats. He’s also the world’s greatest art restorer, a fact that somehow works, adds depth to his character, and provides some good cover stories. Daniel Silva is very savvy about world affairs and uses this knowledge to craft timely plots that are typically juxtaposed on the haunting Holocaust memories that shape the Israeli characters’ motivations.
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
WWII veteran nurse Claire accidentally travels back in time to early 18th century Scotland, where tensions run high between the Scots and the Brits. She meets Jamie Frazier and the two share an uncommonly powerful love. But this series isn’t just a fluffy love story. It’s often gritty, sometimes makes you squeamish, and at times feels like a well-told history lesson. Author Gabaldon takes Claire and Jamie from the Scottish Highlands to the Paris courts of Louis XIV to colonial America as they try to find their place in the world. Smart writing, a great love story, historical context, and strong characters make Outlander a great book series.
The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett
Ken Follett writes terrific historical fiction and this series is no exception. The Century Trilogy follows several families as they experience key events in the twentieth century, including WWI, the Russian Revolution, WWII, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, assassinations, presidential resignations, etc. It’s ambitious, but Ken Follett, of course, handles it masterfully and produces a really engaging series. The series only has three books, but they’re typical Follett-length, which means it’s really like a six book series. Plenty of material here to keep you busy for a while.
Sigma Force series by James Rollins
I can’t remember how I was introduced to this series, but after I read the first book I was hooked. Sigma Force is a group of elite soldiers who also happen to be brilliant scientists. In each book they tackle a new, potentially catastrophic, world-ending threat. And these threats are whoppers, always involving a combination of science and the supernatural, and sometimes based on ticking time bombs set centuries prior. These stories are nonstop action, with unusual settings, interesting plots and characters, and even have a dash of romance. Very entertaining!
Hope one of these series can help take your mind off things! What are your go-to series?