Hi everyone and welcome to August.

Disappointing last couple of weeks of reading for me. I only read and finished one book since the mid-month newsletter. I’ve started Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly however haven’t read it in a few days.

I think part of the reason is that I just don’t want my reading of the Bosch Universe to come to an end. That’s 30+ books I’ve read in that series over the last few months and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to it – at least temporarily until the next book comes out.

I’ve also been extremely busy with other work. One of my primary jobs involves sports such as the NHL and NBA. With them returning it has really increased my workload over the last couple of weeks and getting prepared for all of that.

Don’t worry I’m not complaining – the idea of sitting down a bit later today and replying to all of your e-mails while all-day NHL action is on in the background? I’m salivating at the thought.

I’ve also mentioned that on OrderOfBooks.com we are converting our database. We’re essentially building a new book database from scratch and it is an incredible amount of work. Over 2500 hours of work have been put into it so far and we’re only at about 30% done! Will make things so much better on the site going forward and with a new site we are launching however it has proven to be quite the undertaking.

This newsletter took an additional 2 hours to do for example due to this. Every author mentioned here I wanted to make sure they were switched over to the new system. Unfortunately, the majority of them weren’t on the new system yet so I had to take the time to do that. Oh well, it will all be worth it when it’s done – trust me on that. And all this additional work and stress? Just makes that after-work beer taste all the sweeter.

The book I read was How To Save A Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. A man meets his ex-fiancee in a coffee shop, realizes he still has feelings for her and they arrange a date night. She ends up dying on the date due to a horrible accident. He wakes up the next day only to realize it’s the same day – she is still alive however history is repeating itself and she is going to die again.

Basically Groundhog Day style. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it. It obviously didn’t dig as deep as something like Replay by Ken Grimwood (which is one of my favourite books of all time) however although I was disappointed they steered away from the psychological thrillers this time; I ended up really invested in it and it was a good book. Well worth reading and they are a great writing duo.

Speaking of co-authors did I ever talk about the future of the Jack Reacher series in here? I don’t think I did. In case you haven’t heard – Lee is looking at retiring from writing the series and is handing it over to his brother Andrew. They will be co-writing The next book which is released at the end of October.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I felt the Reacher books dropped in quality for a few books however I have enjoyed the last two or three of them and felt Lee had recaptured the magic.

I also gave the David Trevellyan series of books that his brother wrote a try many years ago. I’m hoping Andrew has fine-tuned things by then because they were a big turn-off. If you think the Jack Reacher character is ludicrous well – David Trevellyan makes Reacher look like Clark Kent to his Superman. It was just so over the top.

I will go in with an open mind though and give them a try. The transition of the Mitch Rapp books from Vince Flynn to Kyle Mills went extremely well and I’m hoping this is similar. Drop in quality or not; reading a Reacher book in the fall is a staple for me and I hope it continues to stay that way.

While looking at the upcoming books this month I realized Stephenie Meyer was releasing a new Twilight book. I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of that beforehand. I obviously follow the book world religiously and this just flew completely below my radar. Crazy.

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:

Barbara from Porterville, CA
Carol from Worcester, UK
John H.D. from Knoxville, TN
Denise A. from Hopkins, MN
Robin from Jefferson, GA

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!

Sunrise at Normady Series by Sarah Sundin

Sarah is an author who writes book series in the drama/romance genre within the WWII era. Winner of many award, the first book in this series, The Sea Before Us, was the recipient of a 2019 Reader’s Choice award.

This series was recommended by Lynette who said:

“I just finished a great book. It is book 1 of a trilogy. The series is Sunrise at Normandy. The first book is The Sea Before Us. It is by Sarah Sundin. The first book is about Wyatt the eldest of 3 boys. It is a romance that takes place near the end of World War II. It was fantastic! I’m looking forward to reading The Sky Above Us and the Land Beneath Us.”

This Is How It Always Is By Laurie Frankel

Laurie is a very talented author who currently has three books to her name. Her second book, Goodbye For Now, has been optioned to be made into a film.

This is her latest book, an NYT Bestseller, and recommended by Katy who said:

“Best book I’ve read in awhile is, This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel. It is a novel, but it concerns raising a trans child. Enjoyable read – you will laugh, you may cry, but a fascinating story. The author has a trans child, though she mentions that it is a novel…”

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

I haven’t had the chance to read this one yet however after praising the book Replay, Peggy e-mailed me suggesting I read it stating:

“have you read “Life after LIfe” by Kate Atkinson? i strongly suggest you do – or at least read a review, before over-praising “Replay””

This book is about Ursula Todd who gets to live her life over and over again, similar to Replay. I’ll be sure to read it within the next few days and see how it compares.

Carter Blake Series by Mason Cross

This one was recommended by Joan. She said:

“Have you read any books by Mason Cross. His hero is described as the new Jack Reacher, and Lee Child says it’s his type of book. Personally I think the books are better than Jack Reacher. I did go off them for a while, but can’t wait to get hold of the next Mason Cross.”

I haven’t had the chance to read this yet. To be honest with the popularity of Reacher I was a bit put off by all those Reacher clones that popped up. That opinion changed when I read the Peter Ash series by Nick Petrie last year so I’m up for giving this one a try!

Also thanks to Gerald who also recommended this one!

If you are interested in it too then check out our Mason Cross page. And if you are a Reacher fan and haven’t read it, be sure to read the Peter Ash series too.

Standalone Thrillers by John Hart

This author was suggested by Don. Don is an author of the likes of Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter and John Sandford and he wrote:

“An author I haven’t seen mentioned is John Hart. Not very prolific – only about 6 books – but all are excellent & stand alones”

John Hart has four released standalone novels currently and a two book series. If you’re a fan of the likes of Scott Turow and John Grisham you will like his books. I know I’m adding The King of Lies to my “To Read” list for this month. If you read any of his books be sure to let me know how they were.

August 2020 Book of the Month:

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter.

The great Karin Slaughter returns with the 10th book in the Will Trent series, The Silent Wife.

A very popular thriller series on our website and in this book Will Trent is investigating the murder of a prisoner during a riot.

In the process he speaks to a prisoner who claims he is innocent and is the victim of a corrupt law enforcement team who have left a serial killer on the loose.

The Silent Wife is released on August 4th.

More Notable Books Releasing in August:

New Author Spotlight: Samantha Downing

This month we are featuring Samantha Downing.

Samantha has an interesting backstory in that prior to releasing her first novel My Lovely Wife in 2019 she had written 11 unpublished novels before that.

She didn’t even plan on publishing this one however a friend sent it to an agent who forwarded it onto another agent who loved the book and it ended up being published.

Not only that but it was also a USA Today bestseller and was nominated for an Edgar+ ITW Thriller award.

Dexter meets Mr and Mrs. Smith in this novel about a married couple who look like a normal couple. However they have a secret to keeping their marriage alive – getting away with murder.

Check out our Samantha Downing.

Audiobook Arena

Eating crow is a colloquial idiom, used in some English-speaking countries, that means humiliation by admitting having been proven wrong after taking a strong position. … The exact origin of the idiom is unknown, but it probably began with an American story published around 1850 about a dim-witted New York farmer. (Wikipedia)

So, where does the crow enter in to a column about audio books? In my last missive I talked about a pet peeve my wife and I have with audio books being presented by multiple readers and why we felt this actually detracted from the experience. You may recall I’d not heard a single work where I felt the use of multiple voice actors was as effective as a good single narrator. In fact I felt strongly enough about this I was avoiding audio books where there were multiple audio actors.

Quite literally my very next book was 1Q84 by Haruki Murakamai which is a very long work in three parts, and totals 46 hours on 38 CDs. Some would say the only thing longer than this would be sitting through a 30-minute IRS audit, but I still took it on because I was hitting the road for a cross-country drive by myself (North Carolina to Arizona). The story – which I’ll discuss in a moment – is based on main characters separated into synchronous story lines told in the first person. I hate to admit being so wrong, however the use of three narrators – one for each character – was very effective and appropriate. It worked because each chapter is dedicated to one story line or another, so every time there is a new chapter you’d be following a different character with their dedicated narrator. This was so smoothly done it was very transparent who we were following based on the voice, without extraneous text.

Talk about interesting timing, when I mentioned this being such a contradiction to our earlier conversation, my wife had to admit she’d just had the same experience with the Twilight series. She was wrapping up the four-book series on audio, and Breaking Dawn was presented like 1Q84. She, too, felt she’d found the exception to our previous rule.

Well, at least I get to share the crow on this one. I’m told it’ll taste like chicken.

– – – – –

1Q84
by Haruki Murakami
Performed by Alison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, and Mark Boyett

Delivered in three volumes, this lengthy work (the 2011 English translation is 928 pages) does a nice job in building believable characters, establishing situational awareness for the reader, and describing daily life in Tokyo in 1984. If you enjoy hearing the kind of minutia that surrounds primary characters – like what they had for lunch and how it was prepared – then you’ll enjoy this book more. If you find this tedious you’ll likely wonder if the story couldn’t have been better told with about half the content.

The New York Times Book Review states “…while anyone can tell us a story that resembles a dream, it’s the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves.” I have to agree that I often felt like I was sitting in a cafe with the characters while they discussed something over coffee – to the point I’d swear I could smell the cigarettes! Unfortunately, my thoughts of “…can we just get on with the story?” was just about as frequent.

One reviewer also drew parallels between 1Q84 and James Orwell’s 1984, but I didn’t see it. Where Orwell would paint his dystopian future with wide brush strokes, Murakami used such delicate touches that I would occasionally become lost on minor or slightly surreal points necessary to keep me tracked with the main story line.

In all I’m glad I took the time to enjoy Murakami’s work, especially emersed like I did over just a few (long) days while behind the wheel. If I’d picked this up in short bites while commuting I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed it – or even stuck with it. Then again my usual selections are fast-paced action stories and crusty detectives pushing deadlines.

Please share your latest audio book titles and what you thought of them. And if you think of it, I’m sure I could use a few more crow recipes!

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!

Picture of the Month:

So very true. I’m sure all of us have fallen into the “one more chapter” trap at some point. Thanks to Fank for submitting that one.
Send in your own to site@orderofbooks.com or by replying!
Images, jokes, etc. We’ll take it all!

Your Thoughts!

Who are your top five authors who currently release new books each year?

Last month I asked how you decide what book or series to read next.  The responses are below.

This month’s question is:

Who are your top five authors who currently release new books each year? 

Let me expand on that slightly.  Most of us have a “blindly buy” list comprised of authors or book series that we trust and enjoy.  We don’t even read the descriptions.  As soon as we hear of a new book we’re either pre-ordering it, adding it to our list at the library, or marking the date in the calendar to go buy it.

Of those – which are your top 5?  The 5 authors whose new books you look forward to the most?  And hey how many are on that list?

I have a list of about 30 authors whose books I blindly buy.  It’s always interesting looking at it and seeing how things change over the years.  Harlan Coben is one who 3 years ago would have been on the list and now I’m not sure I’ll even buy his next book.  Andy McNab and his Nick Stone series – a decade ago I couldn’t get enough of that series.  Now I own all the latest books but haven’t read them in the last 4 years.

For me it is in no particular author:

John Marrs: John writes standalone novels and he isn’t afraid to go a bit “out there” when it comes to the topic he covers.  Every book is vastly different and I drop everything to read one of his novels.

Mitch Rapp: Kyle Mills is doing a fantastic job of continuing this series and I look forward to them just as much as the Vince Flynn books.

Nick Petrie: His last “Peter Ash” outing wasn’t too great however the previous ones were excellent and I can’t wait for the next one. 

Joseph Finder: Whether a standalone novel or a Nick Heller book, Joseph is one of the most consistent high quality authors out there.

Blake Crouch: He hasn’t written anything since Recursion in June 2019 and has no upcoming books on the horizon.  However I drop everything to read his novels and I have a Google News alert on his name just to find out when his next book is.

I know this is a tough one – if you can’t limit it to 5 that’s okay.  Heck I’m going to break my own rules by also mentioning Shari Lapena.  Initially part of the “females writing thriller authors inspired by Gone Girl and Girl on the Train” crowd, she’s really evolved as a writer and is quickly becoming the queen of the present day whodunit genre.

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.

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Order of Books » Newsletter » August 2020 Newsletter