Hi everyone and welcome to halfway through December!

A day early this month. One of my friends is taking Christmas off and today is his last day. He wants me over to celebrate his time off with a “crazy, fun-filled day” tomorrow. This will likely be simply sitting around all day in his basement, having beers, and playing video games. I’m 40, and that’s as “crazy” as it gets for me these days.

Either way – I wouldn’t be able to get to any newsletter responses tomorrow, and not sure how up for it I will be on Thursday! So figured I get to the bulk of them today.

I want to give a quick shoutout to the author duo we just added, Gaga Gabardi and Judilee Butler. They write the Phoebe Korneal Mystery series. I’m a big fan of co-authors writing books (true co-authors; not the Patterson type) and am looking forward to reading these.

I’m currently reading Savage Gerry by John Jantunen. Funny story about him – he sent me an e-mail thanking me for listing him on the site last year and we conversed a little. Then in the Summer, he sends me an e-mail saying that he and his family just relocated to Kingston, which is where I live, and would I be interested in meeting up.

Well we swapped addresses and I couldn’t believe it – if I stand on my front porch and squint, I can see his house! Literally about 400 metres away! We have met up a few times and it’s been great chatting books.

He’s very passionate about Savage Gerry and so I bought a copy of it. Quick side note; I have authors e-mailing me all the time trying to give me free copies of their books for review. I always reject the requests and buy the book myself.

I like to give honest reviews and I just don’t think I could do that if it was a free copy. It bothers me when I see obviously poor books on Goodreads receive many 5 star reviews, with “Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review” crammed in at the bottom.

I’m about 80% in and really enjoying it. I’ll finish it tonight for sure. It takes place in Ontario. Something essentially apocalyptic is occurring and the power has gone out everywhere. Gerald is in prison along with all the other prisoners, abandoned by the guards. Suddenly there is a jailbreak and to survive, Gerald has to become “Savage Gerry” again.

It’s billed as a Canadian Mad Max but for me, it is very reminiscent of Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter, which is one of my favourite novels of all time. I will warn you there are some raw subject matters – it is a story of survival after all – but I am really enjoying it, and he is a great guy to support.

I read In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. This was the first novel she wrote, and the last one on my “to read” list for Ruth. One thing I really like is when an author makes you emotionally react to a character.

This book had a character called Flo who was just the worst. Such a horrible person, and so overly dramatic. Authors have to toe a fine line with characters like this though – they can be a real turn-off if not handled correctly. I thought Ruth did a great job with that though – I was very frustrated and reacting emotionally to the character without it hurting the book.

This was a proper whodunnit and I quite enjoyed it. I always enjoy the remote setting where there’s a death or murder between a group of people, and I felt Ruth did a great job of keeping the reader in the dark somewhat, without it being in a frustrating matter.

Glancing at reviews it seems my positive reaction to it is in the minority. I always like to look at those just so I can give a heads up about that. All I can say is that I enjoyed it.

I finished listening to 14 by Peter Cline. I really enjoyed this initially – but felt it fizzled out in the final act. The best part of it was the whole mystery and the “what is it?’ feel to it. When you actually find out…..eh. Sometimes some mysteries should remain a mystery. I don’t think I’ll read any more in that series. Ray Porter did do a great job of narrating and bringing the characters to life.

I think I’m going to focus on standalone thrillers over the holiday season. One of my favourite genres as a lot of “can’t put down” books out there.

One interesting thing about running the website and newsletter is the sheer randomness of the work involved in it. Here are just a few examples of the tasks I have had to underdo based on website-related e-mails in the past week:

– Visitor said we didn’t have the book “Plan Zero” listed under Steve Berry and wondered where he would buy the English version as the only listing he saw was German. Researching it, it appeared to be the German edition of one his books but no website said which one! Thankfully Amazon has that ‘free preview” of a book, so I went through about 14 of his novels until I found it, then added the alternate title on the listing.

– Visitor was upset that we didn’t have a book listed by an author that was previewed in the previous book in the series. Researching it, I discovered that prior to publication the author had changed the name of the book from the initial title, so notified them of this.

– Visitor e-mailing asking what is the title of a Sandra Brown novel featuring a deaf girl. Was quite easy to Google and find out the title and let them know.

– Visitor asking where to get a book series in the UK for the cheapest price. I researched the retailers I am aware of, found a good second hand place selling them, and let them know.

– E-mail from my stat tracking software letting me know that a page is trending at about 1200% more than normal. That’s rarely good news and that was the case here – rest in peace and thanks for the great books, Anne Rice.

– Multiple requests each week asking when the next book by an author or in a series is coming out. I always take the time to research these to make sure that no books are missing, and also see if I can help out. This requires looking at the author’s social media to see if they have written anything over the past month or so hinting at a publication date etc. The majority of the time, the answer is “There’s no news about a new book”.

(Also save them to let them know when we roll out our new feature of being able to keep track of authors and their new books!)

It’s pretty neat seeing the variety of requests I deal with. Keeps me on my toes!

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:

Steve S. from Staten Island, NY
Nancy G. from Mount Vernon, WA
Shirley C. from Australia
Patricia S. from Port Huron, MI
Charles H. from Glen Burnie, MD

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


Quote of the Mid-Month:

“His last Christmas letter contained a line that should be engraved above every geriatric door. He says that when asked if he feels like an old man he replies that he does not, he feels like a young man with something the matter with him.”

– From The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner.

Thanks to Donna for that quote. Feel free to submit your own quotes to site@orderofbooks.com or just hit reply. It can be just general quotes about books, author quotes within a novel or even character quotes.

Book / Series Recommendations

In this section I give 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!

Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries by Vicki Delany

This is a cozy mystery series with 6 books at the moment, and a 7th book being released next year.

John e-mailed in this recommendation, stating: “I found a new cozy series that might be fun for fans of the Great Man, but be forewarned that this is definitely a COZY series. The first book of the Bookshop series that I’ve read is titled “Elementary, She Read”, and most of the book is used to set up the characters. Pretty standard stuff, but may be fun for some of the younger devotees of Holmes.”

If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes or cozy mysteries, check it out!

Various Series by Robert Dugoni

Libby wrote in to recommend this classic author, and I was really surprised to see that he hasn’t made its way into the recommendation section before. Time to change that!

Robert has a lot of great series that are worth trying out.

The David Sloane series is an excellent legal thriller series with 5 books in it. His most popular series is the Detective Tracy Crosswhite series. He also has a highly popular spy thriller series in the Charles Jenkin series.

A great author and highly recommended. Check him out!

Dick Francis

Another author who I was surprised to see I hadn’t recommended before. Steve wrote in mentioning him. Dick is a UK author who passed away in 2010. He was also a champion jockey and a lot of his crime novels revolve around horse racing.

Dick has a couple of series however the best books are his standalone novels.

If you’re looking to try one out, Straight is arguably his best one. Other good ones include To The Hilt, Reflex, Whip Hand and Come To Grief.

December 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! And please note you’re not restricted to the country you reside in of course – pick any you wish to support!

USA: Toys for Tots
UK: Booktrust Christmas Appeal
Canada: Santas Anonymous
Australia: The Smith Family

I rotate this list each month. Feel free to suggest a favourite charity – hit reply.

December 2021 Book Of The Month (16th-31st)

Criminal Mischief by Stuart Woods

I know we’ve got a lot of Stone Barrington fans out there so many of you will be looking forward to this one.

Releasing on December 28th, it is the 60th book in that series.

Stone is looking for some down time to relax, but he hears about some sort of plot going on across the city. He has to go up against someone who is on the run, and it’s going to take him abroad.

To Pre-Order or for more details on this popular series, click here.

Random Top 10 of the Month:

10 Books Becoming Movies or TV Shows in 2022

Sometimes it’s fun. Often it’s a great disappointment. Either way here is a list of books or book series with TV shows or movies coming out in 2022:

  1. Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child (TV Show on Prime)
  2. Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith (Movie starring Ben Affleck)
  3. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (Movie – Kenneth Branagh)
  4. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Movie – Daisy Edgar-Jones)
  5. Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen (TV Show starring Vince Vaughn)
  6. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (TV Show)
  7. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (Movie)
  8. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (Movie)
  9. The Old Man by Thomas Perry (TV Show – Jeff Bridges)

What Are You Reading?

I asked everyone on our Facebook page what they are currently reading. Here are the responses:

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

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