Hi everyone and welcome to halfway through April!

First a quick website-related note; there are quite a few changes that have either taken place over the past few days or will be. All of these are aimed to improve your experience.

One of those is implementing a caching system to make the site faster. We were unable to do that previously due to geo-targeting we do but we believe we have found a way around it so the site should hopefully be faster.

Another is a much better ad system and hopefully better ad placement and more related ads. I wish we could live in a world without ads but that isn’t possible at this time. What I can do is make the ads experience better for the users and less intrusive for you and that’s what I’m aiming to do.

Basically, if you see anything weird on the website over the next little while – for example, you live in the UK but are only seeing links for Amazon.com etc – just send me an e-mail and let me know.

This is just the beginning of the work that will be taking place now we finalized that year-long database switch. Lots of cool stuff coming up; ability to subscribe to authors, get personalized recommendations, be notified of new books by authors you like etc. Looking forward to it all.

Reading wise I am on cloud nine at the moment.

Back in October, I mentioned that I wanted to try audiobooks when I run, and asked for suggestions. Many of you sent in some amazing suggestions for a “first-time listener” and it was much appreciated.

I tried out a few of the top suggestions and I enjoyed them and all but I wasn’t hooked. I run 3-4 times per week and I’d switch between books, podcasts, and music. From October through February I actually only listened to 3.5 audiobooks and my audible credits were piling up.

I was ready to mark the experiment as a failure.

Then after organizing my “to read” list last month, I decided to try out one of the standalone thrillers I had on the list. I mentioned that earlier this month – it was a Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson.

Game changer.

For many people, it’s all about the narrator and I do understand that. Scott Brick is one example of an excellent narrator – the type of narrator where you will read books you never even intended to simply because he is narrating.

For me however, it’s all about the genre of a standalone thriller. It’s something that has risen in popularity since Gone Girl and when it comes to listening to them I am completely hooked. The plot is always moving and full of twists. It’s like the author is on a mission to keep you reading and where audiobooks are concerned – it certainly works.

It’s nice as I completely lose myself in the plot. Not only does it make runs more entertaining but I’ve improved simply by running at my natural pace and not focusing on other factors. I also get so hooked on these books that I get motivated to run even more and extend the distance.

Just so much fun. I’m working my way through each Peter Swanson novel just now before trying out other authors. I read the much-heralded Eight Perfect Murders and quite enjoyed it. I’m a fast reader so listening at a slower pace helps me enjoy a book more due to visualizing the world in which the author creates.

The book was solid enough – ending was decent. He creates a few potential candidates for the person behind it, gives you one that is a bit of a surprise but makes sense, then has an intriguing epilogue. I enjoyed it. I’ve started listening to All The Beautiful Lies next which is the last book of his on cloudlibrary. Then it’s straight to Audible for the rest. Always so exciting discovering a new author!

This is a fun one where two separate storylines are taking place – one in the past and one in present-day – but you know eventually they will intertwine. Really enjoying it and if you’re a fan of standalone thrillers, I would recommend Peter Swanson.

On the same note – if you’ve given audiobooks a try but never quite got hooked; give it another go. It took me a few attempts before I finally found my groove in regard to them and what works best.

I’ve talked enough – let’s get on with the newsletter.

Each month we give away 5 prizes to 5 random subscribers of $25 each in the form of Amazon gift certificates. To win all you have to do is be a subscriber. Nothing more! When we go to hit “Publish” we take a list of all of our subscribers, throw them into a random draw and those are the winners.

Our winners this month are:

Christen from Dhaka, Bangladesh
Karen from Kingsport, TN
Reginald from Mount Holly, NC
Mike from La Quinta, CA
Noemi from Avon Lake, OH

All of you have been e-mailed. If you don’t see anything, check your junk folder or contact me.


Book Recommendations:

In this section I give 5 book or series recommendations. They can be old books, they can be new. But either way – I recommend you read them if the type of genre they are in appeals to you. Feel free to e-mail suggestions to site@orderofbooks.com as many of the suggestions each month are from our readers. If you wish to add a description for the book around the same size as the ones below that’d be great too!

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
Lisa is an author who has been writing since the 90s. Her books were always a staple in book stores and if you ever browse through a used book bin, you’ll no doubt find some Scottoline books there besides the likes of Presumed Innocent, and various Grisham novels.

I love it when I get e-mails from readers praising a new book by an author who has been around for so long, Loretta e-mailed in about Eternal, saying:

“I just finished reading, Eternal by Lisa Scottoline! It definitely is a book that I could NOT put down. This historical fiction will grab your heart and stay with you, and yes, it will bring tears! It is well documented that Lisa Scottoline researched the Italian Holocaust for years and ETERNAL is the result of that interest and trying to learn the truth. It is a beautifully woven story of Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro and their families. I do believe that ETERNAL offers us hope that love be it brotherhood, romantic, family, love of a good country, really can save us.”

Love the passion in which Lisa describes the novel. It was just released last month and is getting a lot of great reviews so check it out.

Mycroft Series by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The legendary basketball star is also a heck of a good author as showcased by his Mycroft Holmes series.

There are currently three books in that series which features the brother duo of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. Amy suggested I recommend it and I agree – I’ve only read the first book so far but really enjoyed it.

This is a great series – whether you are a fan of mysteries, historical mysteries, Sherlock Holmes etc – I remember being a bit frustrated with the Americanisms within the novel but was able to look past them and really got into the story.

For more details, see our Kareem page.

Standalone Western Novels by Loren D. Estleman
Loren D’ Estleman is a highly talented author who writes both crime thrillers and Western novels. If you’re looking for good crime fiction, check out his Amos Walker series.

I’m going to go a different route though thanks to reader Elizabeth and promote a few of his standalones in the Western genre instead. Here’s what Elizabeth wrote:

“Most of his books that I have read have been the western themed ones since those were the books I liked best. Several titles in his western series are, “The Undertaker’s Wife”, “Billy Gashade”, “Black Powder, White Smoke”, and “The Master Executioner”. There are many more. He appeals to me because his stories are not corny or watered down. Mr. Estleman writes for a mature audience with prose that keeps your mind engaged in the story line and his characters.”

If you were sitting there thinking “I really want to read a standalone Western novel right about now” then head on over to our Loren D. Estleman page and pick one of the above to read!

Posadas County Universe by Steven F. Havill

Reader Jane wrote in suggesting I recommend Steven in the newsletter and looking through the archives I was stunned to see I hadn’t before.

Steven is most well known for his Bill Gastner Mystery series and his Posadas County Mystery series. Two separate series that are tied into the same universe. Don’t worry the reading order is all on the site. You will start with either Heartshot, the first book in the publication order, or Easy Errors, the first in chronological order. Whichever one works for you. I always prefer publication order.

It’s a fun series about the aging Posadas County Undersheriff Bill Gastner and everything he has to deal with in that role. For all the details on both series and the reading order, check out our Steven F. Havill page.

Prey Series by John Sandford

Another one of those series that I’m surprised I haven’t added to the recommendation section before. Part of it is probably that I expect most people are aware of this series.

In saying that I still receive e-mails from people every day who have just discovered this series and are devouring it. If you’ve never read this series be sure to give it a try.

The series features Lucas Davenport, who is a maverick detective working at the police department in Minneapolis. The series began in 1989 and may seem a little dated due to it being 30 years ago – but this is a great series and it’s fun to see the character evolve over the years as the world also evolves.

If you’ve never read it, be sure to give this great series a try.

April Charities:

While I appreciate all offers of donations to show your appreciation for the site and newsletter, I’d much rather you do that by supporting some great causes. Each month I pick a few select charities broken down by our most popular countries that you can support instead. Thanks!

USA: St. Judes Children’s Hospital (Finding Cures. Saving Children)
UK: Alzheimer’s Society (United Against Dementia)
Canada: Humane Society of Canada (Animals – and if you wish to support one close to home for me, the Kingston Humane Society)
Australia: Indigenous Literacy Foundation (Supplies books to remote communities)

Favourite UK Authors

I asked readers on our Facebook page who their favourite authors hailing from the UK were.  Here are the responses:

Random Top 10 of the Month

10 Completely Random Book Series:

On the sidebar of the site, we have a button you can click under “Feeling Lucky?” where you can bring up a random series or author. I thought I would click it 10 times this month and see what comes up:

Reader Mailbag:

Last month I asked what was the last book you couldn’t out down.

The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking:

What book would you like to see made into a movie or TV Show?

This was inspired by the Gray Man series being made for Netflix starring Chris Evans. One of my favourite series and there are a couple of books in it where you can tell Greaney wrote it with Hollywood in mind.

The John Wells series by Alex Berenson is one that would fit in well there.

The Reacher series is going to have one book per season, and I love that idea. I would love to see the Spider Shepherd series made into a TV show – especially with a UK production company. I feel that one would work well with the right mix of action, emotion, family battles etc.

Blake Crouch is one of my favourite authors. While Dark Matter is one of my favourite novels of all time, I’d love to see Run made into a movie. The intensity in that book was incredible and I think that one would work really well.

What about you?

E-mail us your feedback to site@OrderOfBooks.com or just reply to this e-mail, and we’ll pick the best comments and feature it in next months newsletter. Five people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Order of Books » Newsletter » April 2021 Mid-Month Newsletter

2 Responses to “April 2021 Mid-Month Newsletter”

  1. JOAN ZELLERS: 3 years ago

    I cannot locate the reader mailbag. Perhaps it’s because I am old, but I really have searched — you wrote:
    Last month I asked what was the last book you couldn’t out down.

    The replies are later in the newsletter.

    I simply cannot find that mailbag. Can you direct me? And thank you for putting together my favorite twice-a-month email suggesting books I must read. So appreciated!!


    • Graeme: 3 years ago

      My apologies – I copied that from the April 2021 newsletter which does link to the mailbag. Here is the mailbag link and thanks so much for the positive feedback Joan, much appreciated 🙂


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