Hi everyone and welcome to the March newsletter.  It’s a couple of days late this month because I was just swamped with work the last few days.

It was just one thing after another.  Yesterday for example I sat down to work on the newsletter when I got an alert about one of my other websites; it had been hacked!  So my day ended up being toast dealing with that.  Monday someone accidentally activated the killswitch on our internal book database which removed every single book, series, and author from it.  (Don’t worry we got it back!)  And yesterday…..well yesterday I was just really into the book I was reading, and decided to jump in the hot tub and read the rest of it for about 3 hours!

Oh well, all good now and here with the newsletter to kickstart the month!  If your “to read” list was getting a bit light then here I am to hopefully ruin that for you with some great recommendations!

I finally finished Ballistic, which was book #3 in the Gray Man series.  I can’t believe how bad it was honestly.  I remember not being a fan of it in my original reading but I really struggled to finish it.

It did make me realize though that my reading is affected largely by the quality of the books.  I think I had that one on the go for about 2 straight weeks simply because I wasn’t enjoying it at all.  As soon as I finished it I started The Resort by Bentley Little and finished that one in 24 hours.

So that’s something I will have to remember – if I am not enjoying a book I need to either move on or power through because it’s amazing how little I read when that is the case.

The Resort was okay.  Great start, great middle but a rather underwhelming final act.  Not the best book I’ve read by Bentley.  

I had to purchase a new Kindle Paperwhite. The backlight on my current one died.  I can’t complain – I’ve owned it for 6 years and even dropped it in the lake last Summer up at the cottage.  Certainly got my use out of it.  Amazon were pretty cool about it – initially, I was going to wait for it to go on sale as there is a sale every month or so.  Then I decided to contact Amazon, explain the situation and they hooked me up with a discount code so I was able to get one at below the normal sale price.  That was pretty sweet.

I just finished reading The Minders by John Marrs.  One of my favourite authors.  This one takes place in a futuristic universe where five strangers have government secrets implanted in them and have to guard them.  Honestly the description of it sounds a tad ludicrous but it was excellent.  John really knows how to write and get you attached to the characters.

I had to make an edit to that listing.  While all of Johns’s books are standalone, there are three that take place within the same universe, and if you hadn’t read The One or The Passengers a lot of this wouldn’t make too much sense.  So many references to prior books so I’ve edited his listing to group them together.

In saying that – it wouldn’t surprise me if John is big into conspiracy theories and he uses that to weave his tales.  I don’t mind though – not something that really detracts from the stories.  Yet.  

Sad to see that Margaret Maron passed away.  I hate the way I find out about most author deaths; I get an alert that one particular page on my site is trending in an unusual fashion.  I saw that page trending about 1000% more traffic than normal and immediately knew why.  If you haven’t yet be sure to check out her Judge Deborah Knott series.

I still have Flat Spin, the first book in the Cordell Logan series by David Freed on the go via Audible.  I only listen to books when I am out running usually and the weather has been really bad here so I’ve been inside on the elliptical instead.  I use that time to watch TV.  I binged Community on a rewatch and have now went back to Safe which was written by Harlan Coben.  Only a few episodes left and really enjoying it and all the twists and turns.  Worth a watch.

Quick note about a new section you’ll find in the newsletter – monthly charities.  Long story short a few times per month, I have people e-mailing me thanking me for the website and the book lists and the work I do, and asking if they can send a monetary donation my way.

While I love receiving those sort of e-mails as it makes me feel great knowing how appreciated the work is; as I mention on the website I am an Amazon associate and earn money from qualifying purchases.  There are also google ads on the website.  With all of that going on I just wouldn’t feel right about accepting people’s money.    

However I have decided to start a new area on both the website and in the newsletter where I highlight a few select charities each month.  If you appreciate the book lists or get a good recommendation and want to show your appreciation then hey feel free to support one of the charities listed!  They need the money much more than I do.  And feel free to suggest charities too because I will be rotating the list each month and will be happy to feature your favourite charities.

Let’s get on with the newsletter!

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:

Brenda from Matthews, NC
Barry B from Hondon de los Frailes, Spain
Barbara S. from El Dorado, AR
Donna from Rockport, TX
Brad from Mechanicsburg, PA

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 Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Released on February 2nd of this year, Kristin’s new novel The Four Winds topped all the bestseller lists.

Barbara e-mailed me to recommend it and I’ll just paste her entire recommendation. Thanks for the write-up Barbara!

I just finished reading “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah. It begins in Dalhart, TX just as the dust bowl is beginning, from 1929 through 1935. The main character is Elsa, who becomes a very strong woman throughout the book. She and her two children leave TX at the height of the dust storms because her son gets dust pneumonia. The doctor tells Elsa she needs to take him out of there or he will die. So she loads up the truck with supplies and some food with a little cash for gas and heads out to CA. She ends up near Bakersfield, CA, just like many other families did during that time. The people living in CA then did not make any of them feel welcome and called them all “Oakies”, no matter where they came from. But it’s the typical reaction to any group of new people moving into an area. She picked cotton to survive and learns about the unions that are trying to organize the field workers and ends up in trouble.

If you are a fan of historical fiction you need to read this book. It is sooooo good. I really enjoyed it and it was personal to me because of my aunt and uncle who lived in Dalhart at that time. My grandparents and my Mom also lived in Dalhart for a time but left there about 1924 or 1925 to come to CA. This connection made the story that much more interesting. My aunt sent my mom a picture of one of the dust storms so I know what they looked like and that made it easier for me to imagine how it looked while it was happening. My Mom telling me about living during this time and how hard it was then also helped to connect me to the book. But you don’t need a personal connection to the book to enjoy it. I don’t often recommend books, but this is one that I do recommend highly.

I love reading that sort of thing about the personal connections one gets with a book. Kristin is a great author.

The Big Sky Series by A.B. Guthrie Jr.

It’s the oddest thing – we have lots of fans of Western books who subscribe to the newsletter. Many of them complain to me that I never recommend Western books here. I always ask them for recommendations so I CAN recommend some as outside of the William and J.A. Johnstone I don’t really read any – yet no-one ever replies with suggestions.

Until now! Big thanks to Clark M. who took the time to recommend various Westerns to me. I’ll be going through his big list slowly over the next year. This is the first recommendation – first book in The Big Sky trilogy. It’s an epic adventure series and this is the first book. The second novel in the series won a Pulitzer.

Tweed & Co by Colin Forbes

If you’re a fan of spy thrillers, be sure to check out the Tweed & Co series by the late Colin Forbes (aka Raymond Sawkins).

I always enjoy reading some of the older books in this genre and it’s a series I have slowly worked my way through over the years. Katie wrote to suggest I recommend this series about the British SIS.

There are 20+ books in the series so plenty to keep you busy! It all starts with Double Jeopardy. When a British agent is found murdered in Germany, complete with a neo-Nazi symbol carved into his back, the agents must determine whether or not this is a neo-Nazi job or if it’s the Russians who were actually behind it. But if they take too long, they might be the next…

Slough House by Mick Herron

Ron e-mailed me to suggest this series. I was going to reply “I’ve recommended it numerous times before” however a quick browse of the archives suggest that’s not the case. I can’t believe I haven’t recommended it before!

Mick is an excellent crime thriller author. The first book in this series, Slow Horses, was a CWA Gold Dagger Award Winner. It’s about a group of MI5 agents who have all screwed up in one way or another and are out to redeem themselves.

It’s a great spy thriller series with some good dry wit within the pages as well. You’ll be able to tell Mick is from the UK due to the type of humour. Check it out!

The Time Quintet series by Madeleine L’Engle

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then this timeless book series written by Madeleine L’Engle is for you. There probably wouldn’t even BE a Harry Potter series if not for the classic A Wrinkle In Time.

This book was ground-breaking in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. It’s the definition of a classic and well worth reading.

Always fun to recommend the classics. If you’ve never read this one be sure to check it out!

March 2021 Book of the Month

Win by Harlan Coben

One thing I always respect is when an author takes risks. That’s what Coben is doing as he is taking his character Win, a secondary character in the Myron Bolitar series, and making him the protagonist in this new novel.

It is released on March 16th and I’m looking forward to it. Windsor Home Lockwood III, or Win for short, is one of my favourite book characters. I’m not sure how he will be able to carry the story but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

10 More Notable Books Releasing in March

March 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!

USA: Operation Paperback
UK: Better World Books
Canada: Children’s Book Centre
Australia:Australia: SP Foundation

New Author Spotlight:

Melissa Albert

This month we are featuring Melissa Albert.

Melissa is a fantasy author who released her first book, The Hazel Wood, in 2018.

Albert is also the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and was the managing editor of BN.com.

This fantasy series currently has three novels in it.

The Hazel Wood follows Alice, a seventeen-year-old girl, and her mother. They have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, running away from the bad luck that seems to find them everywhere. Alice’s grandmother is a known author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales who has just passed away at her estate known as the Hazel Wood. Alice soon realizes that they have been running from bad luck for a long time, but she doesn’t know yet how bad their luck can get.

Her mother is kidnapped by someone claiming to be from the Hinterland, the supernatural world where her grandmother’s book stories were set. Her mother left behind a message that told her to stay away from the Hazel Wood, but Alice isn’t going to listen. She allies herself with a classmate, Ellery Finch, who is a Hinterland superfan and knows everything there is to know about her grandmother’s stories in order to get her mother back.

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 Syd

Life and Time of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern

You’ll be laughing your whole run!!

By Jan

For audiobooks I recommend the James Lee Burke books read by will Patton. I absolutely love them. I do not read his books if I can listen to it read by will Patton

By Teri

the one I’d recommend is “The Night Circus.” I enjoyed that, immensely. Also, lately I “read” “Bitter Brew” written by and narrated by Kelsey Grammar. The story is pretty good, but I really enjoyed his narration.

By Janice

My recommendations for your first audiobook to read:
The Tin Roof Blowdown, James Lee Burke. ( I believe you’ll want to read the entire series; Will Patton IS Dave Robicheaux.)
Where The Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (The ending is a big surprise. I believe this book will remain on the NYT best seller list in perpetuity.)

By Elise

DEFINITELY Relic by Douglas Preston Lincoln Child, the first Agent Pendergast book. You will NOT be bored. I became addicted with audio books after this one. I never wanted to get out of my car when I was listening to Pendergast. My 2nd choice is Dog On It the first Chet and Bernie book by Spencer Quinn.

By Mari

Dances with Wolves and the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. They’re narrated by George Guidall and you can’t do better than that. Also, the Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd. I’ve listened to both of those series more than once. They’re not the high action Lucas Davenport or Mitch Rapp type books but they still hold my interest on long drives.

By Jean

I recommend as a first audible, The Dutch House. Mainly because Tom Hanks is the reader and he is the greatest voice! The story was good but Hanks took it over the good line to great!

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:

(Thanks for the submission Norma!)

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked what is the most unusual or interesting environment created by an author that really surprised and engaged you.

The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking:

What was the Last Book You Couldn’t Put Down?

(Not sure who the creator of that image is unfortunately but

I’ve asked this question before and it’s always fun seeing the responses. Also gives me a lot to add to the “to read” list.

I was also inspired by the John Marrs book I just finished, The Minders.

Like I said in the beginning of the newsletter – I wrote off my entire evening last night to sit and read it for 3 hours until I finished it. I sat down to work on the newsletter but the book kept popping into my head. I finally decided to wait until today to do the newsletter, and read it instead. I even stayed up past my regular bedtime just to finish it!

What about you?

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:

Click Here

Order of Books » Newsletter » March 2021 Newsletter

One Response to “March 2021 Newsletter”

  1. Linda Lambing: 4 months ago

    I am an avid reader of thrillers, romance,suspense, and modern day westerns. The last book I read was The Maze by Catherine Coulter. I was captivated by this book and couldn’t put it down. It drew me in and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I love the suspense, action,and add in romance and you have a very interesting book. There wasn’t a time I lost interest in the story with all the twists and turns and the characters. Just when you think you got it figured out it amazes you when it heads in a different direction.
    Would give 5 stars.

    Reply

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