Hi everyone and welcome to….mid-February?

Man – sorry about the lateness of the newsletter this month. I don’t even have a good excuse like I was on vacation, or I was in the hospital, or I was just engrossed in some really good books!

It’s just been one of those months that have been flying by. I’ve had on my to do list since the 26th of January to start work on the newsletter. Wake up every morning and think “Today is the day”. Next thing I know I’m swamped with work, then it’s 3pm and my kids are home and it’s time to get off the computer for the day.

My wife also has a crazy work schedule the first few months of the year and is away a lot so I basically play “single dad” January through March. Keeps me busy but I really do enjoy it as it makes me more aware of the things she does around the house that I just take for granted. I can’t tell you how many times this past month I’ve heard “Dad there’s no more toilet paper” or “Dad there are no towels”.

Good times.

First thing I want to comment on is the mailbag feedback last month. WOW. The mailbag has been a bit quiet these past few months. Last month I asked what book series you would like to take on a desert island and the responses? Over 5x what I have usually been receiving! Amazing.

Due to that for one time only I am going to give away 4 $25 Gift Certificates as opposed to 2. Always cool when you take the time out of your day to respond to a question and I wanted to show my appreciation. If anyone has any mailbag topics they think would spur another strong response let me know. Always enjoy reading the replies and communicating with fellow book lovers.

January was an odd reading month for me. I started the year with the goal of tackling some new authors. I did that….once.

Then we watched The Runaway Jury. (Based on the John Grisham book)

It’s not the first time I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it multiple times and read the book. However we were sitting at the dinner table and my 16 year old started asking questions about jury duty, based on something they had covered at school that day. I came up with the idea of re-watching The Runaway Jury with him based on that topic of conversation.

And that was all it took.

Out of all the John Grisham books, Runaway Jury is probably my favourite. I’ve read it at least 15 times. We watched that movie and I knew I had to read that one next. So I did. All that did was remind me how great Grisham was. So next it was The Partner. Then The Firm. The Client. A Time To Kill. etc etc.

Yep I spent my January re-reading books that I’ve read multiple times already. Then of course re-watching the movies.

However it’s not just about re-reading great stories for me. It’s about reliving great memories associated with those books. Re-reading The Client for example; that was the first John Grisham book I read. I was visiting my dad in the Summer (I lived in Scotland, he lived in Canada). He was reading that while I was there and told me I HAD to read it as the movie was coming out that week. I still vividly remember getting hooked on it, staying up all night to read it then going to the movie the next day to see it play out. Re-reading it and re-watching it brought back those memories which was nice.

Or coming home from that trip to Canada, and going to the library and getting The Firm. Again staying up all night reading it, sleeping most of the day, then going to the local shopping centre that night to rent the VHS and buy some chips and curry sauce.

And a personal favourite – reading The Associate while waiting for a friend at Taco Bell. I had just finished the book when he showed up. The memory I have of that day however is he had went vegetarian for 3 years. He ordered a bean burrito and it ended up coming with beef instead and he didn’t realize until a few bites in. He simply declared “WELL THAT’S THAT THEN” and stopped being a vegetarian immediately, going up and ordering 5 steak tacos within minutes. I’ll never forget how quick he transitioned, and also how angry he looked as he sat there munching on those tacos.

The only new author I actually tackled this month was based on the recommendation of my mum, and that was Gillian McAllister, a standalone thriller author. She was…….okay.

The first one I read was Everything but the Truth. It was about 2 people who have had a whirlwind romance, are together and have an upcoming baby. However both have a big secret they are keeping from each other. This was one that started really well and it was well written but I felt just really fizzled out on the end. One of those books that needed one last twist.

I then read Anything You Do Say which was the one my mum recommended. It’s about someone who pushes a man down some stairs in a misunderstanding and she has to decide whether to call the police or not. The story then takes both perspectives – one where she DOES call the police and one where she runs away. It’s a concept I often enjoy but I just found I couldn’t get invested in the story this time. It didn’t help that the main character was just a terrible person ha.

I watched the XFL this weekend. Quite enjoyed it. Quality of football was decent and only going to get better. Nice having more football on the go. One thing that is fun is gravitating towards certain teams to support. I was going to go with Dallas as I visit there quite often and am going to attend a couple of Renegades games next month. However watching the games this weekend I was lured towards the DC Defenders and St. Louis Battlehawks more. Anyway if you’re a football fan, I’d recommend checking it out.

Been hard at work behind the scenes on a new book notification service that I’m excited about. We’re still a few months away but don’t worry I’ll keep you all updated on it and let you know when we need beta testers. Due to the demise of Fictfact we’ve changed the scope of the site more so it’s also about tracking authors and books you have read etc – looking forward to that and that has kept me fairly busy this month as well.

I received a nice e-mail from an authors mom, advising I check out her daughters books. They’re in the YA Sci-Fi genre and when I purchased the first book it was only $1 on Amazon. I’ve written more about it in the New Author Spotlight but hey let’s help out a self-published author and keep her mom happy 🙂 Check out our page on Bianca Sierra Luebke and check out The Replacement.

Okay enough rattling on for me. Time to get this newsletter out! Let’s get going.

Each month we give away 2 prizes to 2 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 Debby from Ottawa, Ontario and Alan from Lacey, WA Both 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!

Lucy Stone Series by Leslie Meier
If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, this series is for you.

It’s about Lucy Stone, a newspaper reporter in Tinker’s Cove, Maine. The series began in 1991 with MistleToe Murder and is still going strong today.

Linda A. was the one that recommended this series, and she said: “My favorite is Leslie Meier. She has 28 Lucy Stone series. Her first book was Mistletoe Murder and her latest is Silver Anniversary Murder. They are easy reading and each book makes you wonder what will be happening in her and her family’s life in the next book.”

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, check it out.

The Long Walk by Stephen King
Reader Tara H. pointed out to me that I never recommend Stephen King. I looked through the archives and realized I never do. Probably because he’s so famous I don’t feel the need to. However he has written so many books that it’s easy to overlook some, so I thought I’d give this recommendation.

Thinking back to all the Stephen King books I have read, The Long Walk, originally published under the name Richard Bachman, has always stuck with me. It’s the first novel he ever wrote, and it’s about one hundred teenage boys who once per year participate in an annual contest – to walk. There are rules in regard to the walk and basically if they stop walking, they’re killed.

This is one of those Stephen King books that has always stuck with me and I always think of fondly. So if you have never read it, check it out.

And hey any other “hidden gems” King has? Books that get overlooked when talking about King? Send an e-mail to site@orderofbooks.com with a brief review and we’ll see about recommending more King books in the future!

Texas Grooms Series by Winnie Griggs
Winnie was recommended by reader Linda E. She is an author of inspirational romance novels.

Romance is not my cup of tea but I asked a friend who likes that genre to read the first book in the series and she really enjoyed it. She felt it wasn’t groundbreaking, but enjoyed the book and the characters in it and was happy that it was a series so she could read more about the characters.

If you like romance, check out Winnie.

The Caleb Zelic Series by Emma Viskic
Emma Viskic hit the book scene in a big way when she released her first book Resurrection Bay a couple of years ago. She won various awards such as three Davitts, Australias Crime Novel of the Year and the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction.

It’s a thriller with a twist – Caleb, the hero of the book series, is deaf. However he never forgets a face and launches into an investigation of the death of a close friend.

Something really neat that I liked is Emma actually took the time to learn sign language to better write this character. I love things like that.

February 2020 Book Of The Month: One Minute Out by Mark Greaney

Every February Mark Greaney releases a new “Gray Man” novel. I haven’t went back into the archives to double check, but it wouldn’t surprise me if every February I have taken the time to recommend the new book and series.

There’s a reason for that.

This is just a fantastic series in the spy thriller genre and I can’t recommend it enough. The first book in the series, “The Gray Man”, is incredible and I can’t wait for the new one to come out.

In this one, the Gray Man discovers a human trafficking operation that leads all the way to Hollywood. He wants to shut it down but his handlers have other plans.

Seriously if you are a fan of Reacher, Rapp, Bourne etc – read this series!

(And if you’ve read it and love it, read the John Wells series!)

One Minute Out is released on February 18th, 2020.

More Notable Books Releasing in February

Blindside (Michael Bennett) by James Patterson & James O.Born
The Warsaw Protocol (Cotton Malone) by Steve Berry
Coconut Layer Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen) by Joanne Fluke
Salt River (Doc Ford) by Randy Wayne White
The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

New Author Spotlight

This month we are featuring Bianca Sierra-Luebke.

This was actually thanks to her mother reaching out. Bianca – you have an awesome mom!

I won’t share the entire e-mail however Bianca is a self-published author. She works at a library and does a lot of stuff for teens and getting them into reading. She has a website dedicated to teen reading.

She launched her first novel, The Replacement, in 2018. It’s the first of a trilogy and it’s in the YA Sci-Fi Genre.

Give it a try. And thanks to Biancas mom for writing in!

Each month we feature one new author as recommended by you, the readers. If you have suggestions for an author to feature in this section, please reply or e-mail site@orderofbooks.com. Only rule is that their first book can’t be more than 18 months old. (Although we may make exceptions!)

Audiobook Arena

The “Audiobook Arena” mailbox is getting filled up a bit so I’m going to include a few this month to clean it out.

Written by Deborah

I love audiobooks. My favorite series, by far, is the Lady Justice series by Robert Thornhill, narrated by George Kuch. When I listened to the first book, Lady Justice Takes a C.R.A.P., I wasn’t sure I was going to like the series. I stuck with the book and am so glad I did. This is a hilarious series revolving around Walt Williams and his geriatric band of friends. Walt decides that he wants to be a police officer. The only problem is he’s 65-years-young. The police force gives him a shot thinking he’ll wash out before training is completed. The hilarious and unbelievable antics start and never stop. The other officers on the force jokingly refer to Walt and his partner, Ox, as the dynamic duo. That descriptions fits Robert Thornhill and George Kuch to a “T.”

There are currently 36 print books and 35 audiobooks. The latest audiobook will probably be completed within a month. George Kuch really makes this series pop. His character voices are spot on and his way of delivering the witty one-liners makes this series a must listen. I’m sure the print books are good but after listening to the first book I decided I wouldn’t read any of the books but wait until I could get the audio versions.

About a year ago, I managed to convince my mom to listen to the first book. Like me, she didn’t care much for the first part of the book but I kept telling her to just stick with it. I promised her it was worth it. She was highly skeptical but stuck it out. Now, she’s completed all of the audiobooks and, like me, eagerly anticipates each new book in the series.

Written by Doris

I’m an avid audiobook listener, at the moment listening to Karen Fossum’s Inspector Sejer series andTorquil Mcleod’s Inspector Anita Sundstroem series. Love them both, but my favorite reader is Humphrey Bower, check him out

Written by Judy

I have a subscription to Audible from Amazon and listen to it in my car through the Bluetooth connection. Can also listen anywhere with your telephone. They have great audible books and a good library. You can join for free for a month I think and then it is $16/month and you get a credit each month. They have a lot of the newest releases.

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:

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked you what book series you would want to be stranded on a desert island with.

What an amazing response!

Your feedback is later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking another rather classic question:

What 4 authors would be on your own personal Mount Rushmore?

PERSONAL is the key there. For example for the fantasy genre, Tolkien should be on there for sure in any list. However maybe you haven’t read him, or heck don’t even like Tolkien! That’s okay.

Basically 4 authors who you feel have had an important impact on your reading throughout the years.

For me the 4 would be:

Enid Blyton: The infamous author of childrens books and series such as The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. This was the author that got me into reading and to say I inhaled her books as a child would be an understatement. Heck I still read them to this day. Fun reads with great memories.

John Grisham: Grisham would be on my own personal Mount Rushmore because he was one of the most important authors for me in terms of reading. He was the author that made me transition from kids books to adult books. I mentioned above about The Client. That opened me to an entirely new world of books. I also got introduced during the peak Grisham era so that was nice.

Ray Bradbury: An author who opened my mind beyond mystery and thriller. I had friends who read sci-fi and I was never interested in that genre. The Martian Chronicles changed my mind. Just an incredible book. For that genre I honestly prefer Blake Crouch now, but Bradbury was amazing and that’s another book I go back and read every couple of years.

Lee Child: Similar to Grisham, Lee Childs “Jack Reacher” was a book series that changed my reading forever. Honestly prior to Lee Child I never really read any book series. I read the first one and it got me hooked. Furthermore it got me seeking out more series in that genre. I’ve now discovered so many great series and authors such as Andy McNab, Vince Flynn, Stephen Leather, John Wells and Mark Greaney all because I picked up Killing Floor on a whim one day.

What about you? Would love to hear who would be on your Rushmore and why.

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. Two people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Reader Mailbag

Click here to read this months mailbag.

Order of Books » Newsletter » February 2020 Newsletter