Hi everyone and welcome to June! I love this time of year when the weather gets warmer. There’s something so nice about just sitting on the front porch for a few hours in the fresh air, reading a good book and having a couple of pops.

I finished The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. I really misinterpreted the type of book this was. I thought it was a psychological thriller – many reviews described it as that. It ended up being more along the lines of a domestic suspense type novel – a messed up family saga. I thought the book was okay. Perhaps if I knew what the book was going on I would have enjoyed it more. Instead, I was sitting there reading the final act and waiting for some big twist that never actually happened.

I decided to stick with Lisa and read Watching You and this time I actually made sure to understand what the general theme of the book was! A whodunnit that takes place in a small, quiet neighborhood. My sort of book!

Unfortunately, I gave up on it about 15% in. Maybe because it was an audiobook but the book kept jumping between characters and timelines and I found myself completely lost. I’ve never had that issue before but I couldn’t keep things straight. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it please let me know as I may give it another try on my Kindle at some point.

On that note – what is with authors who have two main characters with similar sounding names? Both those books had that. Libby and Lucy. Joey and Jenna (both female). It just added to the confusion. One of my biggest pet peeves.

What’s funny is I made the decision to give up on it mid-run; I usually zone out listening to the audio books and that just wasn’t happening. So there I am mid run browsing Audible trying to find something new to read!

I went with a little known author by the name of Louise Penny. A true hidden gem. That is a joke BTW – Louise is the most popular author on our site and I felt I best clarify that quickly to stop an onslaught of e-mails! 🙂

This is actually the first Gamache book I’m reading. I’ve never openly admitted that I hadn’t read the series; I’ve always skirted around the topic. So far I am enjoying it. It was a bit of character overload at the beginning with a dinner party that introduces you to about 20 characters at once; but I’m getting to grips with it now. I’m about 70% of the way through and will be sure to keep reading this series.

It’s neat reading the series after all this time and seeing all the feedback on it – especially the reader mailbags about a book world you’d like to inhabit – make so much more sense.

I finished book #4 in the Dewey Andreas series by Ben Coes. It’s crazy thinking I’ve only read 4 books in that series as I started it back in 2010 when Vince Flynn gave it his personal recommendation. It’s an enjoyable series and Ben is one of those authors who really gets better with age.

He has that ability to get you riled up and emotionally react to certain events and characters which is somewhat of a rare trait. I will say quality wise he’s a tier below the likes of Greaney, Mills, Flynn etc – but still an enjoyable read.

I mentioned last month that after giving up on the Orphan X Series by Gregg Hurwitz series after two books, I was going to give it another try due to many of you writing in very positive feedback for it lately.

Well I started the third book, read the first 15% and realized I’d actually read it before! I checked prior newsletters and discovered that the third book was the one that made me give up. I’ll excuse one bad outing, but if there are two books in a row I don’t enjoy that’s enough for me to give up on a series. Pity as I really did enjoy the first book in that series too.

I’ve started the latest book by Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary. He also wrote The Martian. He does a good job of diving deep into the science but breaking it down for the average reader in a way that isn’t condescending. I’m not too far in but enjoying it so far.

I had an interesting discussion with a reader recently about the future of books; they were concerned that actual physical books will one day disappear entirely due to e-readers and how they will impact future generations.

It’s interesting to think about but I just can’t see it myself unless schools made the rash decision of going completely e-reader. It’s mostly anecdotal but most kids I know get used to reading books in school and they just don’t see the appeal of the e-reader as much.

Plus kids just love THINGS. Physical items. No matter what it is. So having physical books is something they just enjoy having. When it comes to technology they all want the latest thing. Compare the latest iPhone to the Kindle paperwhite. There really is no comparison and the slowness of ereader navigation can be frustrating.

Then we’ve got this generation right now who are all over social media posting about books, doing youtube videos about books etc. For large groups of people, reading is a “cool” thing to do and to fall into that category, it relies on physical books.

Basically I don’t think we have to worry about the disappearance of physical books anytime soon.

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:

Michael P. from Saginaw, MI
Ruthann from St. Catharines, ON
Norm from Cathedral City, CA
Edwin B. from Surrey, BC
David T from Holbrook, NY

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!

Reaper Series by A.J. Tata and Nicholas Irving

I noticed that the A.J. Tata page was really trending on the site recently. I’m not 100% sure what series but this one appears to be very popular right now. Now one I’ve read myself yet.

The first book in this current three book series is called Reaper: Ghost Target. It features Vick “The Reaper” Harwood who is a sniper with a record kill count. He gets knocked out in Afghanistan and wakes up back in the USA unable to remember what happened. He looks to be finished with the touring life, and resigns himself to training snipers.

Then a series of assassinations occur and Harwood is always in the area. The sniper rifle used also matches the rifle he lost. Worse – his memory of the past few days is hazy and he isn’t sure if he IS actually behind it.

I’m a big fan of novels featuring snipers. The Bob Lee Swagger series by Stephen Hunter is one of my favourites for example. I haven’t had the chance to read this series yet but am going to bump it up the reading list.

The Institute by Stephen King

The Institute was a 2020/Thriller Suspense Audie Award Winner. The Institute is a place where kidnapped children go. However these are no ordinary children.

Ruth was the one that wrote in with this recommendation. She said: “Hi I am almost finished reading Stephen King’s The Institute. I haven’t read his books for a while now. This one is actually very interesting. It’s listed as a Sci Fi. I am not a true Sci Fi fan but this is different. Takes place somewhere in Vermont (surprise surprise) a place that does experiments on children by cruel people. These children have unusual brain power. They are kidnapped, their parents are killed. That’s how they are able to be kidnapped. It is exciting and the tension palatable. It does make you feel edgy and anxious as to what will happen next. I think you and your readers would enjoy this one”.

It can be tough picking a Stephen King novel to read with so many out there. This is a good one to check out.

Plainsong Series by Kent Haruf

Literary fiction author Kent Haruf, who sadly passed away back in 2014, wrote the Plainsong series of novels. Something notable about this series is that 5-8 years passed between each book.

The first book, Plainsong, was a National Book Award Finalist. It takes place in the small town of Holt, Colorado. The focus is on the people within that small town.

Pamela was the one that e-mailed recommended Kent, stating “If you have not read Kent Haruf, you have missed a great set of books by an awesome writer. He has passed away and only 6 books but absolutely hooked me from the first book.”

Simon Serrailler by Susan Hill

When someone writes in to suggest a book series that “anyone who likes Louise Penny will like”, then you’ve got my attention!

The Simon Serrailler series was started by Susan in 2004 and is still ongoing. LaJeanne recommended this one, stating:

“Her Simon Serrailler series is excellent. Simon Serrailler is a top level police detective, heading a small town police department. The books also bring to life his sister and brother in law and their children, his parents, and many others. The town of Lafferton, England, becomes entirely real and believable……it is a Cathedral town, but most of the events have little to do with that fact. The town has a drug problem, but Serrailler does not become involved with it: there is a separate drug squad to deal with that. He deals more with murders, kidnappings, cold cases, etc. However I must emphasize that the heart of each story is much, much more than the usual “police procedural” novel.”

The Oxford Mystery series by Ann Swinfen

Lajeanne is also responsible for this recommendation although many have suggested Swinfen over the years. Here’s what she wrote:

“The Oxford Mystery series by Ann Swinfen is also a favorite. The first book begins as the “Black Death” (bubonic plague) has ended
and all of English life is forever changed.

Some estimate as many as 40% of the people in England died between 1348-1350 when the Black Death arrived in England. Entire villages, and entire families were wiped out. The first book “The Bookseller’s Tale” begins as the Black Death has ended. People are trying to re establish their lives, their occupations, and families. Each book is a mystery, but more interesting to me, are the losses suffered by everyone and their attempts to re establish normality.

June 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: National Center for Transgender Equality

UK: Stonewall

Canada: Canadian Centre for Gender + Sexual Diversity

Australia: Pride Foundation Australia

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

June 2021 Book Of The Month:

Survive The Night by Riley Sager.

Survive The Night is one of the highly anticipated books of the month and is a perfect Summer read.

Riley has released some great thrillers over the years. This one takes place in 1991. Charlie Jordan, a movie obsessed college student, is on a long drive home to Ohio. The man in the car with her is a complete stranger.

And may just be a serial killer.

You’ll have to wait until the end of the month for this one, but that gives you lots of time to check out some of the other work by Riley.

Check out our Riley Sager page for more details.

10 More Notable Books Releasing in June

Classic of the Month: Nevil Shute

This month we are featuring the author Nevil Shute.

Susan sent in this recommendation, stating “My recommendation is the author Nevil Shute. His books encompass engineering, archeology, reincarnation, and just great story-telling. There are many titles besides the most well-known, On The Beach. ”

Nevil Shute Norway (1899-1960) was an English-Australian novelist as well as an aeronautical engineer. He dropped the “Norway” from his pen name in order to protect his engineering career. His novels are not divided into series, but rather three categories – Pre-War (mostly pre-1940), War (1938-1947) and Australia (1948-1960).

As Susan said, On The Beach is probably a good place to get started.

Visit our Nevil Shute page.

Audiobook Arena

A few months ago I asked readers suggestions for the best first audiobook to try for a new listener. Here are a few of the responses:

By David

I’m an avid runner, putting down 3000 miles/year. Many of these miles are done while listening to audiobooks, especially of runs in the 12-20 mile range where most of my miles are done on trails, railbeds and paths where cars are not present. I find it’s easy to get lost in an audiobook and I don’t like sharing roads with cars unless I’m 100% aware of my surroundings.

My experience is the narrator adds a component that enhances, or detracts, from the book itself. A mediocre book can come alive or, conversely, a good book can become unreadable, depending on the narrator. My two favorite readers are Scott Brick and Will Patton. I’d listen to anything either of these two guys read, regardless of my familiarity with the author. I’d recommend any of the James Lee Burke books read by Will Patton, although I think the Hackberry Holland series is the best. The poetry of Burke’s writing comes to life with Patton’s voice. Scott Brick has done a wonderful job of many of the Nelson Demille books, but Word of Honor is my favorite. One of my all time favorite books, Dune, written by Frank Herbert, is also a Scott Brick book. As a last recommendation, any of the Harry Bosch books, read by Titus Welliver – the voice of Harry Bosch in the Amazon Prime series, are outstanding.

As a final note, I listen to a lot of history while running. There are quite a few historical accounts that read like fiction, if you are so inclined. The best histories to get started with are: The Coldest Winter [Korea] (David Halberstam), Charlie Wilson’s War [The Russian adventure in Afghanistan] (George Crile), The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors [Leyte Gulf in WWII] (James Hornsfischer). All are excellent stories and very well written and read.

By Elaine

Two that I absolutely loved:

The Highest Tide – Jim Lynch
Last Bus to Wisdom – Ivan Doig

Wonderful stories, beautifully written; excellent rendition by readers. I wanted theses stories to go on forever.

By Nancy

Listen to Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. Or Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot.
I normally listen to thrillers, Rapp, Bosch, the Gray Man and on and on. Anansi Boys was the first audio book Iistened to. Still one of my favorites.

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:

Submitted by Norma. I think after this last year, all of us can relate to this.
Send in your own to site@orderofbooks.com or by replying!
Images, jokes, etc. We’ll take it all!

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked if you have a regular reading schedule.

The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking:

What’s a good book to incite discussion? The ideal book for a book club?

Thinking of all the books I’ve recommended over the years and gifted to people – I’m going to go with my personal favourite: Replay by Ken Grimwood.

It’s my all-time favourite book and I have gifted it to everyone I know. It’s the story of Jeff Winston, a 43 year old who dies. Then suddenly he wakes up and it’s 25 years ago and he is back in college and he gets to replay his life all over again.

There is just so much to this book. Grimwood covers everything. It’s a great book to discuss for so many reasons – one of which is what you would do if put in that same situation.

Last year, I met my accountant for lunch and to go over my corporate taxes. I also gave him a copy of the book. About a month later he called me up and said “We have to go to lunch”. I was worried there was some sort of issue with my taxes and asked why. “Because I just finished that book you gave me and we need to talk about it!”

What books would you suggest? What thought provoking books are there out there that are great to discuss afterwards?

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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