Welcome to December! Apologies for no mid-month newsletter in November. I wasn’t able to write one due to a personal situation.

On that note – let me just get this out of the way. This can be a difficult time period for some by normal standards; in 2020 it’s going to be an even tougher time for a lot of people due to not seeing families etc.

If you’re feeling lonely or feel the need to vent, rant or heck just even chat about books, TV shows or any other topic – feel free to hit reply. I know I’m just a dude that sends out a book newsletter twice a month – but sometimes it helps to talk to people semi-anonymously and I’m here for everyone.

I won’t judge. I’ll treat everything as confidential. I reply to every single e-mail I receive. So don’t hesitate or be shy about hitting reply.

Well – except for those e-mails berating the casting choice of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. I agree – it was a horrible decision. However it’s been 8 years – time to move on!!!!!

Seriously – I still get at least one e-mail per week or a comment posted on the site from someone ranting about that!

This year has been tough for many but hey we’ve made it this far. A runner wouldn’t give up on a marathon a couple of miles from the finish line. Let’s keep going together. And seriously – you’re not bothering me at all and I am happy to converse over e-mail. I’ve had some great chats with people over the last year who have been stuck housebound for the majority of the time and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people better. Just hit reply.

Onto the newsletter.

I’m pretty pumped about December as it’s the one time of the year I actually take time off from work. I run my own business and I love what I do plus it is usually very busy – so I never take time off. A friend convinced me last year to take 2 weeks off at Christmas (bar about an hour a day of work each day that has to be done) and I absolutely loved it.

Reading was of course one of the big reasons for that. I get up about 5am every day and generally hate sleeping in so I go to bed early at night. Often I end up engrossed in a book and stay up way too late having only a few hours of sleep. I chastise myself for that as it throws my system off all week long.

With that time off in December I turn off my alarms and just wake up naturally whenever I want which means I can stay up as late as I want reading without feeling silly in the morning. Very excited for that because nothing beats those nights where you can’t put your book away until it’s finished at 3am. Really looking forward to it.

It was my sons 17th birthday in November. One of the presents I got him was the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. That was the first book series he really got into and it helps that Jeff usually releases a new book right around his birthday so getting him it has become a tradition.

I can’t even remember what age he was when I started reading them to him however it’s nice that even on the verge of adulthood he still got excited at the book and embraced the tradition.

Just not sure if he’ll be up for me reading it to him while he falls asleep cuddling with his Pokemon stuffies any more!

Anyone else watching The Flight Attendant? It’s based on the book by Chris Bohjalian. I read the book and while I enjoyed it was very disappointed by the ending. I’m really enjoying the TV show though – only 3 episodes have dropped so far and it’s fun having to wait for the next batch.

One thing I really like is that it’s one of those shows where the director is having a lot of fun with it. The cinematography is really cool and adds to the show.

I’m almost finished the Amos Decker series. One book left.

I’m enjoying the books for sure – especially the recurring characters. I’ve noticed a trend in that the plot can get fairly complicated at times but Baldacci will often take some time to recap where the story is at and what has transpired since the beginning of the book which is nice.

I was going to take a break from them to read the latest Michael Connelly book when I realized that oops – I didn’t actually finish my readthrough of the Bosch Universe! I still have three books left in that series. I’ll wrap that up soon
.
Audiobook wise I finished the second Parson & Gold book by Tom Young and am on the third now. I tend to go through one every 10 days approximately. Still really enjoying it although after the third one I think I will try out a new author / narrator combo just to mix it up.

It’s funny how I decide what to read next – sometimes I just happen to see a book mentioned over and over in the course of a week and I have to drop everything to read that one next. That happened with One by One by Ruth Ware. I just happened to see it on various book lists and in e-mails recently and I rushed the book I was reading at that time just to read it.

Really enjoyed it. Always do enjoy a good standalone thriller. I think I’ll read a lot of those over the holidays. I have a big list on my Kindle of standalone thrillers and they’re ideal for those nights where I like to stay up reading.

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:

Wayne from Berlin, MD
Carol from Arlington, TN
Robin from Manchester, NH
Bruce from Sydenham, Ontario
Heidi from Spokane, WA

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

Graeme
OrderOfBooks.com

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!

The Forgotten Coast Series by Dawn Lee McKenna

This series takes place in Florida where Dawn is from. I know many of our readers love these “location based” series that really gives them a feel for an area so this one will be worth checking out.

It was recommended by Genevieve who said “I happened to get the set of 4 free on amazon and downloaded it because it takes place on the panhandle of florida. for me, that was a plus since I live in florida and know a lot of the area. it is a light hearted mystery series which is an easy read for those that don’t want heavy drama.”

If December is a busy time for you, it might be just the perfect type of series to get stuck into.

Lou Boldt series by Ridley Pearson

Looking through my e-mails I see quite a few people e-mailing the same thing – “if you like the Bosch series, be sure to read the Lou Boldt series by Ridley Pearson”.

I know many of our readers are fans of Michael Connelly so thought this one would be a good one to recommend.

Connie wrote “Since you love Harry Bosch, may I suggest reading Ridley Pearson’s LOU BOLDT novels? For some reason, he stopped writing that series and went on to children’s books. While I am sure they are great, wish he would also continue with Lou Boldt. Another GREAT character such as Harry Bosch.” and Bonnie wrote “Just a quick note since you’re enjoying the Connelly books please consider the Ridley Pearson series featuring
Lou Boldt.”

As mentioned in the beginning; I still have 3 books in the Bosch universe series to read. Once I’m done I will be sure to check it out. If you are a Connelly fan, I suggest you do too!

Fergusson/Van Alstyne Series by Julia Spencer-Fleming

An excellent series by Julia which just had the 9th book published after a 7 year delay.

The first book in this series, In The Bleak Midwinter, was a massive award winner winning Agatha, Anthony, Macavity and Barry awards that year so you know it has to be good!

I’ve read a few books in this series and really enjoyed them. Ruth was the one that e-mailed this recommendation and here’s what she said:

“I just finished reading Hid From Her Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming. This is the 9th Book in her series about Clare Fergusson and her husband Chief of Police Ross Van Alstyne. These characters have been away for 6 years and are finally back in Millers Kill trying to solve the mysterious death of a young girl. A similar death occurred 30 years before, and another similar death occurred 30 years before that. All these murders have to be solved before Millers Kill police department is dissolved. What is so great about this series is the development of the personal lives of the characters. We get to know them through all the books and get to be involved in their lives and in the crime solving. I highly recommend this well written series. I am very glad that Julia Spence-Fleming is writing again. May she continue writing more of this series.”

A great series.

Charles Lenox Mysteries by Charles Finch

This is a very popular historical mystery series that has been recommended quite a few times by readers.

There’s a lot of books in the series which takes place in the 1800s primarily in London, England.

The most recent recommendation was from Linda who said “I am always looking for new authors and have recently found Charles Finch… I like reading books in order so started with A Beautiful Blue Death that introduced me to the characters and the main one, Charles Lenox, an amateur detective in the 1800s. It was an interesting story, not quite “one I couldn’t put down” but I did like it enough to go on to his second and just finished his third. They have become increasingly better and am now on his fourth. Would be interested in your opinion if you have read his books. Hope it rains in west Texas tomorrow so I can finish this one.”

If you are a fan of historical mysteries, be sure to read this series.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

I mentioned in the opening that I often pick a book to read based off “seeing it mentioned often” and I am going to have to read this one next I expect.

I don’t use Goodreads often however a few years ago I guess I marked this one as “currently reading” by accident. Every month I get the Goodreads newsletter. It’s personalized, and at the top it reminds me that I am currently reading this book – even though it was a mis-click. And I can’t be bothered going in and fixing it.

So I was just reminded of that this morning and then looking through the recommendations folder, I see this e-mail from Dave “I’m not sure if this particular book was one of your recommendations or not, but, Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough was excellent. If you haven’t read it yet, do it….lol. I’m sure you get a bunch or suggestions so I will be very patient waiting for you to email me back saying; ‘I didn’t figure that ending either Dave.'”

Well Dave – you wrote that back in March and I hope you are still patient – I promise I will read it this month along many many of our readers and will let you know my thoughts as soon as I am finished! Apparently it is a Netflix mini series too so I’m looking forward to checking that out.

This will be the first standalone thriller of the month I read. Looking forward to it. Join Me!

December 2020 Book Of The Month: Cold Wind by Paige Shelton

With it being Winter time I know many people like to read Winter themed books so this book should be a good one for that.

It’s the second novel in the new Alaska Wild Mysteries series by Paige Shelton. It all takes place in the deep, dark worlds of Alaska.

It is released December 8th, so that gives you time to read the first book in the series entitled Thin Ice.

It’s about a thriller writer who managed to escape after being kidnapped by a crazy fan. She’s suffering memory loss and hiding out in Benedict, Alaska. A death occurs in the community as she arrives and she decides to look into it.

More details / Pre-Order.

10 More Notable Books Releasing in December

New Author Spotlight: Rebecca McLaughlin

This month we are featuring Rebecca McLaughlin.

Rebecca McLaughlin is an American author and self proclaimed Michigan nerd. She debuted as an author by writing the book, Nameless Queen.

The book manages to explore the social and economic divide that affects so many, but manages to do it through the leans of magic which makes it accessible and more entertaining. McLaughlin got her degree in chemistry and creative writing in 2014.

Rebecca has worked as a technical writer since graduation, but creativity remained close to her heart and she decided to write Nameless Queen. The book is somewhat based on her life as she grew up lower-middle class and went to a private college. Only hers didn’t have magic.

The book takes place in a royal fantasy kingdom where a girl named Nameless has just inherited the throne. It’s not supposed to work this way as everyone thought that the king’s daughter would inherit the throne and no one could’ve expected it would be Nameless.

She is called Nameless because she is from a lower class of citizens that are so disrespected that they don’t even get names. Dozens of them go missing and have been for months, but nobody cares about them.

All of those people don’t have the tattoo that Nameless has on her arm though and she is now the queen. Now she finds herself in a palace where the corridors are more dangerous than the streets. She has no idea how to rule, but she knows that she needs to do her best because she’s scared to think of what might happen of the Nameless if she doesn’t as she’s the only one in the kingdom that cares about them

More Details

Audiobook Arena

By Jean

I’m re-listening to Tony Hillerman’s “People of Darkness” and loving it all over again! Jim Chee is keeping me company – although there’s a really bad guy trying to kill him which is just about as scary as COVID19!! I’d forgotten how much I loved hearning about the Navajo culture and the Checkerboard territory. Narrator George Guidall is simply THE BEST, period!

I miss Tony Hillerman’s insights.

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By Kristi

I love audiobooks—I use them for mindless tasks like sorting & folding laundry, dishes, even for company during Walmart runs. One of my favorite authors is N.D. Wilson, who began a juvenile fiction fantasy series called Ashtown Burials in 2011 with The Dragon’s Tooth, then The Drowned Vault in 2012, and Empire of Bones in 2013.

Then for whatever reason, his publisher pulled the plug on the fourth & final book. The final book! But Wilson has plotted a way to self publish this last book! He is writing & publishing it as a serial by subscription, chapter by chapter. Of course I have subscribed, and like you said about rereading the Hunger Games before enjoying the new book, I have been listening to the first three books in preparation. The narrator is Thomas Vincent Kelly, and he does an excellent job with Wilson’s amazing word craft and wild variety of characters. I heard one my favorite lines as I cruised the Walmart aisles earlier today. Describing the summer heat, Wilson writes, “Frogs, young and foolish, exploded as they crossed the sizzling asphalt.”

Makes me smile every time, the way Kelly reads it.

I don’t know if the fourth book, which is called The Silent Bells, will ever make it to audiobook, but I’m thrilled to get ready for it by listening to Kelly’s excellent interpretation of the first three.
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By Lois

Thanks for asking the question about our reading methods. It gives me the opportunity to sing the praises of Audible. I have been a member since 1999. Why, you might ask? I love physical books and have a lot of them in our home library. [My husband reads a lot too.] However, with fibromyalgia, it is a slow process to read. It is hard to hold a book for very long and my eyes get tired quickly. I first discovered books on tape. They increased my reading immensely, although they were quite expensive. Using the library helped. This slowly changed to books on CDs. Audible has made it even easier. I read while doing other things. I read just before going to sleep or if I wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep. I listen exclusively on my Kindle and use the sleep timer.

To a lesser extent, I also get books on sale from Chirp. I listen to those on my Kindle and desktop.

Audio books have been a true blessing over the years. I would miss the richness reading adds to my life. I recommend reading this way to everyone. I have developed the ability to listen while deleting email. There are a lot of things needing doing around the house that also allow us to listen to books. I take full advantage of that time.

Thank you for the work you do. It is an invaluable service.

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!

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked what authors would you miss the most if they stopped writing. The responses are at the bottom of the newsletter.

This month I am asking: what are the best books you have read this year? Or what were your best book experiences of the year?

For me one great experience was reading through almost the entire Bosch Universe this year. That’s kept me busy and every book has been fantastic.

Without a doubt though the best book I read this year and possibly of all time is Replay by Ken Grimwood. Words cannot describe just how much I love that book. I just checked Amazon and I’ve bought exactly 43 copies of it this year as I just keep handing it out to friends, family members etc. Heck I just had a zoom meeting with a new account manager at the bank, casually asked him if he reads much and am planning on giving him a copy for Christmas!

Finally getting into audiobooks was another excellent experience for me. Being able to get reading done while I run is fantastic and I love it.

Quick shoutout to the Mason Cross series by Carter Blake. Looking through what I read for the year this one really stuck out to me. If you’re a fan of Reacher, Rapp etc be sure to check that out.

One last mention – the Peter Ash series by Nick Petrie. I read that last year but recommended it to everyone “if you like Reacher” and also ad nauseam in this newsletter. The amount of positive feedback I received from people who read it has been fantastic and made me so happy. Not a week goes by that I don’t have someone e-mailing you a thank you for that recommendation and just hearing that always makes me feel great.

Probably my best “reading” year yet. How about you? What were your best experiences with reading? Or what were the best books you read this year?

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.

Reader Mailbag:

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Order of Books » Newsletter » December 2020 Newsletter