Hi everyone and a slightly late welcome to February!

It’s continuing to be a busy time for me due to the launch of BookNotification.com. Not complaining though! Love seeing so many new users signing up for the site, following authors, tracking and printing their book lists, etc.

For each OOB newsletter, I’ll probably do a small blurb about what is going on there to keep everyone updated, then move on – although this month is a tad longer. Since the last newsletter, we set up a calendar that displays in the sidebar or below the book list on mobile, to show upcoming books only by authors that you follow.

A lot of the work is behind the scenes right now just adding authors, and getting all the Goodreads imports dealt with. If you are one of the people that submitted a Goodreads file or new author to add and haven’t heard back yet – don’t worry, you will this month for sure!

There is just so much work to be done involving that. One of the big differences between what I do and other sites is 100% human auditing. This means going through every single book an author has written, checking it’s where it belongs within a series, that it doesn’t have alternate titles, that it’s actually written by this author etc. It never ceases to amaze me how incorrect many of those other sites are in regard to book listings.

It’s a lot of work, but I strive for 100% accuracy. It’s common for me to have to reach out to librarians in two different states just to ask them to write the opening line of a book to me, so I can see if they are the same book under a different title as online research hasn’t been able to confirm that.

Despite the work involved, we’ve added over 2000 new authors to the site in just one month which is quite an achievement. Our next big project on there will be a complete revamp of the My Account / Library section which was admittedly thrown together last minute to meet beta launch. We’ll also be introducing tooltips to explain a lot of the core functions of the website as I realize that isn’t clear.

So if you want to track books by authors you’ve read, get notified of new books by your favourite authors, rate books, print lists and more then head on over to Book Notification. And if you’re a Goodreads user who imports their file just be aware – it’ll take at least a few weeks most likely before all books are matched on it!

A lot longer than intended but I promise future blurbs will be shorter! Let’s get on with the newsletter.

Reading can be funny. Sometimes you pick up a book and are hooked instantly. Other times I find I will pick up the same book 2 or 3 times, and just never get going. Then at some point, it just sucks me in and before I know it I’m burning the midnight oil.

I found that with Tuned Out by Keith A. Pearson. Essentially, this is the story of someone who travels back in time and then gets stuck there. I actually ended up re-starting it as I had attempted to read it a week prior and never got into it, then forgot who the characters were.

I think I was on my third or fourth attempt at reading it for more than a few minutes – when it all just fell into place. Suddenly I went from forcing myself to paying attention to being engrossed in the story and characters and before I knew it, I had flown through half the book. I finished it the next day. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s very light on time travel but still a solid story with some good British humour to it. Be sure to read The ’86 Fix series first though.

I finished Never Lie by Freida McFadden. This was a psychological thriller involving two newlyweds getting stranded in a remote house due to a blizzard, then realizing they may not be alone.

I was a bit conflicted with this one. The big twist occurred and it took me by surprise, and I really enjoyed that and raced through the rest of the book. But it’s one of those books that while you initially may enjoy, the more you think about it you start to pick away at it etc.

So it’s one that I really enjoyed – but can’t actually recommend if that makes sense. If you like psychological thrillers and don’t mind suspension of disbelief at times to enjoy a book, you’d enjoy this.

I had no idea that there was a TV show being made based on The Consultant by Bentley Little. It’s releasing on Amazon Prime later this month. He’s my favourite horror author but I hadn’t read that one yet so I started that.

I’m half-way through and loving it so far. One thing I love about Bentley is just how MISERABLE he makes you feel. I felt that when I read The Bank as well. He really paints such a dreary picture of life for the protagonists. An author that can make you feel that sort of emotion just through the written word is a true gem. This is the story of a consulting firm that comes in to help a troubled company – but all is not that it seems.

Reader advisory: this book, like many Bentley Little books, is messed up. Actually, I feel the need to shout that: THIS BOOK IS MESSED UP. All books by Bentley are.

This one in particular – well, if you are a dog lover, I’d strongly advise skipping this book. Actually, for the first time ever I think that whole “banning books” deal has merit. You love dogs and hate when anything happens to them in a novel? You’re banned from reading this book!

I am being 100% serious about that btw. I am a dog lover and am able to handle it depending on the circumstances, but I know people who can’t so wanted to give that advisory. I do have a nice little dog story in the recommendations for everyone to make up for it.

I finished listening to Mox, by Jon Moxley. It was an okay biography but jumped all over the place in the timeline. If I had read this one I would be disappointed but as he reads the audiobook himself, it’s like he is telling you random stories over a beer and it helped balance it out.

(He’s a good example of what a mess some of those other websites are BTW. He’s written just that one novel, yet his Goodreads listing has 4 other books clearly not written by him on it.)

I haven’t started listening to anything new yet. I do the majority of my audiobook listening when out running or walking. But with -30 weather here in Canada and about 5 feet of snow, I’m spending most of my running and walking on the treadmill where I watch TV instead. Not a big TV watcher so I am really enjoying getting the time to do that. Haven’t watched anything based on a book since Bosch, but have binged Physical, The Therapist, Severance, The Traitors (UK version) and have started White Lotus.

That’s about it from me. The new few months will see me send out just one newsletter per month. Down the road, I’ll hopefully get back to sending a mid-month newsletter as well.

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:
Phil G. from USA (philgor***@hotmail.com)
Joseph L. from Akron, OH
Thomas V. from Mililani Town, HI
Kathy C. from Richmond, CA
Barb. D from Orlando, FL
Allof you have been e-mailed. If you don’t see anything, check your junk folder or contact me.

Quotes of the Month:

“The great reward given to intelligent people is that they can invent all the rules and equate any dissent with stupidity”
Catherine Lowell in The Madwoman Upstairs
“For, so long as there are interesting books to read, it seems to me that neither I nor anyone else, for that matter, need be unhappy.”
– Selma Lagerlöf
““Be warned … that to become interested in ‘horse books’ is to fall down an especially deep rabbit hole.”
– John Jeremiah Sullivan in Blood Horses
Submit your own quotes; just hit reply. Book related are great but happy to share non-book related too! Thanks to Frances, Joann and Chryss for this months.

Book Recommendations:

In this section, I give 3-5 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!

Barbara actually e-mailed with the plot of a book, and she couldn’t remember the name of it. I was unable to help her but she e-mailed back a few days later to let me know she had figured out what the book was. The Red Hotel, the first book in a three book series.

She called it “one of the best books of the year”. It’s the story of a a man in charge of the security for a high-end hotel chain with operations in several countries. One of the hotels gets bombed from charges that were planted in various areas of the hotel. The protagonist keeps insisting that security at all facilities must be reviewed and increased, staff must be trained and access to non-guest areas of the hotel must be restricted.”

“The protagonist also goes before Congress requesting that Security Alerts be shared with the Hotel Industry as it is with the Airline Industry. He is rebuffed by a senator who thinks this is not necessary as no American citizens were killed/injured in the recent bombing. He also gets push-back from the company attorney about the possible publicity and expense.”
“Eventually, the protagonist gets permission to do some security upgrades and staff training. This occurs as another hotel bombing plot is in progress.”
For more details on this thriller series, click here.

Phoenix wrote in to recommend this historical fiction based on the true story. Here is what Phoenix said:

“I absolutely, positively MUST recommend a book to you and your readers: The Paris Library, by Janet Skeslien Charles. I am 74 years old, and I have to say this book ranks among the top five books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s about the American Library in Paris during WWII. It is stunning, brilliant, and will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page. The book is based on fact, the characters are real people. Though the book is fiction, you can see the truth on every page.

As for whether or not a book has inspired you to do something – yeah…I want to go to Paris and visit the American Library!”
Check out the Paris Library today – click here.
I banned any dog lovers from reading that Bentley Little book above, so it’s only fair I give you one in return!
Kerry wrote in to recommend this story, writing “To all young and old readers and all those in between who love a wonderful dog story. Please read “RUNT” by Craig Silvey. It is a very warm and uplifting book.”
It’s targeted more towards middle grade and young adults, and is the story about an adopted dog with extraordinary talents.
For more details, click here. A note that the ebook only appears to be available via Australian book sites (he’s an Aussie author).
Stacie wrote in to recommend a few books by Charles, who primarily writes Christian fiction. She just discovered him last year and recommends him to everyone she knows. Here are three books in particular that Stacie highlighted:
The Water Keeper: The first novel in the Murphy Shepherd series. Murphy is a man of many secrets who lives alone on an island. He helps a woman out of the water, and discovers she is seeking her missing daughter, who has apparently been abducted by human traffickers. If you’ve ever thought “I love Jack Reacher but wish he was a priest” then this series is for you.
Send Down The Rain: Joseph is a vietnam vet who lives in a small cabin alone in the mountains. He then hears of a tanker explosion where his childhood sweetheart, Allie, lives, which killed her second husband. Joseph decides to leave the solitary life to try and help Allie rebuild.
Wrapped in Rain: Tucker Mason is a world famous photographer however he is dragged back home and to his own life, when his younger brother Mutt escapes from a mental hospital. His old girlfriend also shows up, with her son and a black eye and Tucker realizes he can’t keep ignoring his past.

February 2023Book Of The Month

The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz

It was a tough choice this month as February is a great month for books. February 14th will see The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz released.

This is the 8th book in this extremely popular series. On this one, Evan is under the president’s control and she makes him an ultimatum: murder a rich, powerful man and Evan will be allowed to survive.

One problem. Evan swore only to use his skills against the people who deserve it. Now he has to choose between his life, or his principles.

Pre-Order Now.

10 More Notable Books Releasing in February

February 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 or topics that you can support instead. Thanks!

Coldest Night of the Year (Canada)

Animal Welfare Institute (Animals)

Lymphoma Action (UK)

World Central Kitchen (Hunger)

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

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked if a book had ever inspired you to do something. The replies are later in the newsletter.
Lori wrote in with a question which I’ll use this month. Feel free to suggest any mailbag topics – always happy to hear them.
Here’s what Lori wrote:
“How far do you read, or how much time do you put into reading a book before you lose interest and put it down (and/or never found the interest to keep going”)??

A good question. I almost never give up on a book. At the very worst, I’ll skim through just to get to the end and see how it all plays out.

I can only think of two times I’ve given up completely on a book. One was a standalone thriller. I cannot remember for the life of me. I just remember sitting at the beach in Picton, ON, shaking my head more and more at just how ludicrous the book was. I was probably a third of the way through the book before tapping out. I’m sure I wrote about it in a previous newsletter but it was a good few years ago so I’ll have to go through the archives.

The other was actually A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Fantasy is a topic that has never really interested me but I’m always open to having my mind changed. If I read 10% of that book I’d be surprised. It wasn’t the fantasy elements – I just seem to remember each chapter introducing an entirely new cast of characters and I just got tired of it and gave up.

Oh and another “thriller” that I can’t quite remember the name of. I gave up about three pages in due to the language in it. It just felt extremely unnatural and it was as if the author had ran it through a thesaurus about 6 times prior to publication.

What about you? How long do you give a book?

E-mail us your feedback to site@OrderOfBooks.comor 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:

Click here.

Order of Books » Newsletter » February 2023 Newsletter

2 Responses to “February 2023 Newsletter”

  1. joseph l.: 1 year ago

    this is to confirm that i won an amazon certificate. How do I claim it?


    • Graeme: 1 year ago

      Hi Joseph – it was e-mailed to you earlier today about 6am EST


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