Hi everyone and welcome to April! It’s April 1st so of course be on the lookout as you browse the web this morning as there will no doubt be plenty of April Full’s jokes and pranks out there. I always enjoy seeing what websites come up with.

Of course, the other nice thing about April is that the whether is finally getting better here in Canada. We had a couple of really sunny days last month which was so nice. Even better is now that I have started listening to audiobooks I can take really long walks and runs but still “read”.

I started a new audiobook last month which was Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. I was happy to discover that it was available at the local library with the CloudLibrary app and didn’t have to spend an Audible credit on it. Be sure to check the digital offerings available at you’re library; it can be a real treasure trove.

Peter has been on my “to read” list for a while and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I immediately borrowed Eight Perfect Murders, also by Peter. If your a fan of standalone thrillers then check out Swanson.

Speaking of classics – I have decided to start a new section in the newsletter called Classic of the Month. Their are obviously a lot of classic authors and books out there and I feel they deserve their own section. I’ll highlight one author or book per month in that section. It will only be in the 1st of the month newsletter for now but if it ends up being popular will extend it to the mid-monthly.

I read Win by Harlan Coben. Very mixed feelings about it. First of all the positive – after a few rough outings in his previous few book’s, Coben is back to his best. The problem is as I expected – Win just isn’t a good main protagonist. He can be quite an unlikeable character.

He also pines for Myron way too much. All it did was make us notice the absense of Myron so much more and that wasn’t a good thing. I’d still recommend reading it if you are a Coben fan but I hope Coben returns to Myron as the protagonist.

I literally inhaled Relentless by Mark Greaney, the 10th novel in the Gray Man series. This one had a lot of moving pieces and the first quarter of the book was all about setting that up. Once it got going though I couldn’t put it down. Another great outing for Greaney.

Finally – I hope everyone enjoyed my little April Fool’s prank where I deliberately made an obvious spelling or grammar mistake in each paragraph above. I’m hoping “April Full’s” gave it away. Whether. You’re. Your. Their. Book’s. Absense.. If you’re part of the grammar police I hope your head didn’t explode too much! 😉 I was chuckling over “Literally inhaled” for a good hour.

I promise there are no more in the rest of the newsletter. April Fools’ pranks that is. I can’t make the same promise about grammar or spelling errors 😉

We also lost some fine authors last month such as Beverly Cleary and Larry McMurtry. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating; take the time to e-mail your favourite authors and tell them you appreciate their work! It honestly makes their day. Authors often struggle for months creatively to come up with a story for us to enjoy. Take a few moments to e-mail them a thank you.

Each month we give away 5 $25 Amazon gift certificates to random subscribers.

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:

Linda W from Woodstock, IL
Melanie T from Somerset, KY
John D. M. from AZ
Donna W. from Columbia, KY
Elizabeth K. from Jupiter, FL

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 4-5 random book 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! I should note we also have a huge backlog of recommendations so if you don’t see one that you recommended then don’t worry – it’ll show up eventually!

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

I said last month that I was looking to recommend one Western novel or author each month so you better believe I will be recommending this incredible novel by Larry McMurtry.

It is the first of four novels in this tetralogy by Larry, although the third in chronological order. This book is more than just a Western. It’s an incredible story about the relationship between several Texas Rangers as they drive their cattle herd to Montana.

Lonesome Dove was a well deserved Pulitzer Prize winner and was made into a TV miniseries starring Tommy Lee Jones. The other books in the series were average I thought but as someone who isn’t really a fan of books within the Western genre; I really enjoyed this book and am currently re-reading it. I recommend you do too.

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

I’ve recommended the detective series written by Rachel in a previous newsletter.  This is one of her standalones.  I haven’t read it myself yet but Katy e-mailed with the recommendation, stating:

“I just finished the best book I’ve read in a while, and I’ve read a lot of books this year.  The book is And Now She’s Gone, by Rachel Howzell Hall.  I suppose you could call it a women’s book but it’s also a thriller.  I enjoyed it so much.”

They All Fall Down is a standalone thriller involving seven strangers who get invited to a luxurious private island.  The strangers discover that they have been brought to this island under false pretenses though…..with all of them harboring a secret.

I’m a big fan of those thrillers that take place in a remote location.

Luke Stone series by Jack Marrs

If you’re a fan of Jack Ryan etc then be sure to check out the Luke Stone series by Jack Marrs.

It’s an all action type series at a very fast pace.  It can be over the top etc so you may want to lock your disbelief in a drawer prior to reading this one.  

I feel as long as I know that going into a book or book series I’ll enjoy it for what it is.  

The first book in the Luke Stone series is Any Means Necessary and it’s easy to see why he hooked so many readers right away.

This book sees jihadi extremists stealing some unguarded nuclear waste with the intention of making a dirty bomb from a New York City hospital. With the police clearly in over their heads, they call in the FBI and their top agent: Luke Stone.

Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries then be sure to check out this great series by Cleo Coyle.  You don’t even have to like coffee to enjoy it!  In saying that if you’re a big fan of coffee or like to hang out in coffee shops a lot you’ll get an extra kick out of it.

Mary Ann sent in the recommendation for this one.   There are eighteen books in this series so a lot to keep you busy.  It’s also a great introduction if you want to try a cozy mystery series for the first time.

The first book is titled On What Grounds.  After a decade long break, Cleo is back to doing what she loves best which is running a coffee shop.  However disaster strikes when her assistant manager is discovered dead.  The detective doesn’t think there is foul play but Cleo isn’t convinced…..

Check it out today!

The Lady Astronaut Series by Mary Robinette Kowal

This series is technically a trilogy of full length novels although has a couple of novellas in there too.

The series spawned from a short story that ended up winning a Hugo Award in 2014.  It was the story of Elma York, who had traveled to Mars 30 years ago and was yearning to go back.

With the success of that novel, Mary released The Calculating Stars, the first full length novel in the series.    It won the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo awards for Best Novel that year.

If you’re a fan of this science fiction be sure to read this series.  Note that the chronological order differs from the publication order.  Of course – we have both!

April 2021 Book of the Month: The Rock by LJ Ross

LJ Ross is an extremely popular author and she is releasing the 18th book in her DCI Ryan Mysteries series later this month.

This is a romantic suspense series that is very popular. I believe the majority of the books or all of them are on Kindle Unlimited too which is great for anyone with a subscription to that.

In the latest installment, a wrecked fishing boat causes the body of a woman to wash up on a beach with the others missing. Ryan looks into it and finds out there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

For more details on the book or series, click here.

10 More Notable Books Releasing In April

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)

I got my dog Abba from the Kingston Humane Society back in 2002 when she was just a puppy. She passed away in January 2019. I had her for 17 wonderful years, and still miss her every single day. I’m a lifetime supporter of the KHS. As I mentioned them above, I just thought I’d share why.

New Author Spotlight

This month we are featuring Christina McDonald.

Christina burst onto the scene in 2019 with the novel The Night Olivia Fell. It was a big success and was optioned for television.

She has since released two more novels that have received the same positive reception.

The Night Olivia Fell is a domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth about how her daughter ended up pregnant and brain dead.

Abi Knight gets the call no mother wants early one morning when she finds out that her daughter has fallen off of a bridge. Not only is she brain dead, but she is also pregnant and life support is the only thing keeping her and her baby alive. Abi goes to the hospital and sees the bruises on her wrists, but the police are ruling this an accident. Her mother knows better though and decides to take on the investigation herself. She’ll leave no stone unturned, no matter how hard it is to do so, and deals with hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love.

More Details.

Classic of the Month:

This month we are featuring King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard, released in 1885.

This is the debut of this section and if you have any suggestions for it please just hit reply!

I was contemplating adding this section for a while, and then Sara W. e-mailed to recommend this one so it was perfect timing!

Here’s what Sara had to say:

“I’m ust reading, and enjoying an old classic by H Rider Haggard ‘King Solomons Mines’!

At nineteen years of age he was sent to the staff of the governor of Natal, S. Africa and learned the history, customs & so on of the Zulus. A year late found him on the staff of the Special Commissioner of the Transvaal. And then, still at a very young age, made Master & Registar of the High Court in Pretoria.

So he did know a lot about the Africa he wrote about on this book. Apart from he and his two fellows shooting NINE elephants – one clearly the head of a harem of female elephants – for the tusks and money they’d acquire from the sale of such ( which disgusted me utterly) the book goes on at a good pace.

I am fascinated by the ways of the Africans in the book there to whom life isn’t held as highly as the three Englishmen are used to, as a native remarks to him after a savage war to get rid of a wicked African king! So I have to say there’s nowt wrong with many of our classic author’s books, compared to these modern books about which you write?

For more – check out our H. Rider Haggard page.

Audiobook Arena:

A few months ago I asked readers suggestions for the best first audiobook to try for a new listener.  Here are a few of the responses:

By Merrie

One the first books on tape was a cassette of Short stories written by Steven King.  We would be driving home through the forest to Lake Tahoe at night listening to “Mrs. Todd’s Wild Ride”  (I think) .  The kids loved it because it was scary.

Another book was “Dances with Wolves” . I listened to that driving from Lake Tahoe to San Diego and back.

It is a regular event to listen to Audio books and I just introduced my grandson to James Patterson’s “Kill Switch”? on a trip to Washington State.  They are a part of our lives and make car trips so enjoyable. I listen to audio books trying to go to sleep at night.

By Deborah

First time audiobook listeners: Lady Justice Takes a C.R.A.P. by Robert Thornhill. This is a great cozy mystery series (also with little to no profanity). The first book starts off slow but stick with it!! You’ll be glad you did. WARNING: Some possible side effects due to laughing while listening are: peeing your pants or spitting out food or drink. May also pose a choking hazard.

By Renni

I think if you’re running you want a book that “moves” along quickly from chapter to chapter – I’d start with Ted Bell and is Alex Hawke, there’s a lot of activity going on in each and every chapter.

By Madeleine

James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux books read by Will Patton.  These are great audio books.  My favorite.  Also most John Grisham, Lawrence Block, Stuart Woods, Lawrence Sanders McNally Books, Robert Parker’s Spenser, Steve Martini, Janet Evanovich,  Michael Connelly, John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee, Tony Hillerman, Kinsey Millhone, Patricia Cornwell, Nelson DeMille, Vince Flynn.  We listen to them when we take road trips.  There are more, but this enough.  Problem is, it is hard to find them abridged now.  We like 6-8 hours.. Most are unabridged and are over 10 hours-12 hours.

By Diane

Audiobooks- the reader is just as important as the author.  Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, read by Lorelei King are fantastic.  My husband and I laugh out loud during car trips.  

By Brenna

I just finished listening to Where the Crawdads Sing and it blew me away! It’s not an especially complicated book, but the details are well researched and the story is amazing for a first novel. The narrator does such a good job with authentic accents as well. I highly recommend it!
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell was also a good audiobook. If I remember correctly there are three narrators as the novel is told from several points of view. If you like creepy books this one is worth digging into!

We have a lot of audiobook fans and invite book listeners to write their own column every month.  Want to discuss audiobooks or a favourite narrator?  Hit reply and write and we’ll feature your column in a future newsletter!

Reader Mailbag:

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