Hi everyone and welcome to March!

This month we see another book adaptation, as Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter has been made into a Netflix show.

I had never read that one. The book description had me wary going in; a woman old enough to be a grandmother, and her 31-year-old daughter are out having lunch. Suddenly a shooter appears and starts shooting people.

Out of nowhere, the older woman turns into Jason Bourne and takes him down, revealing a side to her that her daughter had no idea about.

I ended up absolutely hooked on this one right from the beginning. I lay down in bed to start it, expecting to read for about 10-20 minutes then go to sleep. Instead, I was up for over an hour and had 25% of the book done before I finally had the discipline to put it down.

The book went at a very fast pace and it had one of my favourite tropes; a protagonist on the run. I love that sort of thing.

Funnily enough – looking at online reviews, many of them talk about it being very slow compared to her other novels. If that’s the case then I can’t wait to read more! I believe I have only read one Slaughter book which was Triptych many years ago.

When it comes to audiobooks, my favourite books are thrillers that go at a fast pace so going forward, I think I’m going to start listening to more Slaughter novels as opposed to reading.

I’m looking forward to seeing the TV adaptation now. This month’s mailbag question is related to that – whether you read a book prior to it hitting the big screen or not. More on that below.

I read the novel Hostage by Clare MacKintosh. I’ll preface this by saying that I have loved two novels by her – I Let You Go and I See You. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, I highly recommend checking those out.

This one – not so much.

It was a great premise – it was about a mother on a plane, and there is a hostage situation. She has to choose between the passengers and her daughter.

There were just so many things that turned me off the book. I won’t go on about them as I never like to be negative – but the terrorists were environmental terrorists (including a 60+-year-old woman with a bomb strapped to her!) and it all just didn’t seem natural.

It felt like one of those books where an author has been motivated by some political or global situation and feels the need to inject their opinions into a novel. I remember John Grisham went through that for a few years. I always feel it is shoehorned in, and just ends up being a big turn-off.

There were also too many characters that really added nothing to the story. Then twist after twist at the end before everything was wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Clare is still on my “blindly buy” list, but that one is a pass for me.

After I hit “send” on the newsletter, I’ll be starting my next book which is The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart. I’ve only read one Rob Hart book – The Warehouse – but it was one of the top 5 books I read last year. I’m looking forward to this one.

I struggled this month to really get into an audiobook. I just kept jumping from book to book, and nothing could hook me. I’ve heard a lot about how authors really need to make sure their first line and the first chapter is captivating. I find that holds extra meaning when it comes to audiobooks and the pace of them.

I think I tried about 5 different books and gave up about 30 minutes in. I then ended up accidentally buying The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. I meant to purchase the ebook as I have read her books in the past (as opposed to listened) so have started that instead. I’m about halfway in and it’s interesting so far but doesn’t have me as hooked as the previous two.

Our Audiobook Arena section is desperately needing content so I am going to write a bit more about that in that section.

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:

Sandra N. from Missouri City, TX
Gayle V. from Spanga, Sweden
Norine from Belfast, ME
Adam P from Bronx, NY
Sue A. from Des Plaines, IL

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


Quote of the Month

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

– Frederick Douglass.

Submitted by Jan. Submit your own quotes; just hit reply.

Book Recommendations

In this section, I give 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!

All Souls Series by Deborah Harkness

One incredible series is the All Souls series by Deborah Harkness that was originally written as a trilogy but then had a new book come out 4 years later. Amy recommended this one.

I also recommended this series quite a few years ago. Since then, it has been adapted to television with exactly three series released.

It begins with A Discovery of Witches and features Diana Bishop, a young scholar and descendant of witches. She discovers a long-lost and enchanted manuscript whose reappearance summons a fantastical underworld.

This is a highly regarded series and if you haven’t read it yet, check it out.

Payment Deferred by C.S. Forester

David wrote in to recommend this 1926 classic, and I loved the passion that he has for this book. Here is what he wrote:

“In my early teens I read the Hornblower series by CS Forester, loved it, and reread it about every 20 years. Because of this I always thought of Forester as a writer of adventure stories. But, that was before I read Payment Deferred, a book Forester wrote in 1926. I picked it up at a used book sale and probably would have overlooked it, but the book was part of a series entitled, The Best Mysteries Of All Time. And, boy was it ever.”

“This book is a masterpiece of suspense writing. It focuses, not so much on the crime or who done it, but rather the psychological aspects of committing a perfect crime and getting away with it. It’s a fascinating study of a dark, downward spiral of living with the consequences of a crime. The story is told with an ever-increasing tension, with one final twist at the end. While dated, it was written nearly 100 years ago, it’s an enjoyable read I’d recommend to anyone.”

If you’re looking to get into any older books or try out C.S. Forester, this would be a great entry point.

Lady Justice Series by Robert Thornhill

Steve wrote in to recommend this series, writing “These are what I classify as Humor and Mystery. My wife and I just read the first three in the series and both of us were laughing along with the adventures of the Walt Williams and the other members of the City Retiree Action Patrol.”

Deborah also recommended it for its humour, and wrote “This is a great cozy mystery series (also with little to no profanity). The first book starts off slow but stick with it!! You’ll be glad you did.”

Lady Justice Takes a C.R.A.P. is the first book in the Lady Justice series. The book sees a man Walt coming out of retirement to solve crime and bring perps to justice after a long career in real estate. Walt teams up with Ox to bring criminals to justice in unorthodox ways. Because of his age, Walt needs to rely on his brain to outsmart the bad guys as well as help from other senior citizens.

Standalone Novels by Kristin Harmel

I’m a big fan of authors who only write standalone novels. To me it means they are writing about original ideas they had and means they can work without restraints.

That is opposed to authors who write series, come up with an original plot or story, and then have to shoehorn the plot into their existing series.

Sharon write in to recommend Kristin, stating “My new favorite author is: Kristin Harmel, She writes about World War II with a parallel modern day descendent of those who were sent to camps. She also has different topics such as foragers and resistance groups in the war. She is absolutely an awesome awesome author.”

The Book of Lost Names is one book you could check out first and is a great introduction to Kristin. It sees a librarian named Eva who finds a photograph in a magazine one day that stirs something in her. The image is of a book called The Book of Lost Names, a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years but recognizes instantly.

The book contains a code that researchers have thus far been unable to crack. Eva knows the code because she is the one who created it back in World War II as a way to protect the identities of Jewish children she helped flee to Switzerland. Eva will have to decide if she has the strength to revisit these old memories as doing so could help reunite those lost during the war.

Jack Swyteck Series by James Grippando

James writes legal thrillers and crime fiction. He has various standalone novels and also a great series in the Jack Swyteck series, which is currently being published today. There are 17 books in the series thus far.

Judy wrote in to recommend this series, stating: “I just happened on a newly-released James Grippando novel. It rang a bell as an author I used to read but had not in quite a while. I am now working my way through his Jack Swyteck series. Jack is a defender who takes on almost impossible cases and finds a way to work them out. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Grippando’s writing. I recommend it.”

The first novel in the series, The Pardon, was written back in 1994. The series can be a bit of a slow starter – it takes another book or two for Grippando to really get his own “voice” if you know what I mean. Basically a bit rough around the edges. It was his first published novel so that can happen.

Also a trigger warning – a family pet gets killed in the book.

March 2022 Book Of The Month (1st-15th)

Shadows Reel by C.J. Box

It’s one of the most popular book series on our site. On March 8th, Joe Pickett is back!

Shadows Reel is the 22nd outing for Joe Pickett and if you haven’t started this series, be sure to give it a try.

Joe is a game warden in Wyoming, and the writing in this series will really take you there mentally. In this novel, there is a poaching incident that Joe has to go check out.

Unfortunately it’s not just poaching; it’s the torture and murder of a local fishing guide.

While this is going on, Marybeth discovers an unmarked package that contains a photo album that was owned by an infamous Nazi. She is wondering who took it, and why it has just been revealed.

10 More Notable Books Releasing Mar 1-15

  1. Phantom Game by Christine Feehan
  2. Run, Rose, Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
  3. The Match by Harlan Coben
  4. Eve of Destruction by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  5. Fallen Creed by Alex Kava
  6. The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery
  7. High Stakes by Danielle Steel
  8. Give Unto Others by Donna Leon
  9. The Lightning Rod by Brad Meltzer
  10. The Chase be Candice Fox

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

Ukraine: Hospitallers
USA: North Shore Animal League
Texas: Equality Texas

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

Audiobook Arena

By Graeme

As I said at the beginning of the newsletter – contributions for this section are getting rather slim. So I thought I would try a mini-mailbag here. Feel free to write in about anything else audiobook-related though!

Here’s my question for people who both read and listen to books:

Do you exclusively listen or read an author? Or does it not matter to you?

I started listening to books written by Peter Swanson last year for example. I ended up listening to ALL of his books, and going forward I will continue to listen to them, as opposed to reading for them.

I’ve tried listening to books by authors whose books I have read (such as Lee Child) but I just can’t get into them at all.

I mentioned in the introduction that I accidentally purchased The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley on audiobook. I had read her two prior books, so it’s really throwing me off listening to this one.

Even though I LOVE listening to psychological thrillers I can’t ever imagine purchasing an audiobook by Ruth Ware for example. I read all of her novels and would find it weird to “make the switch”.

Just curious if anyone else feels the same or not? As it is I must say I am actually really enjoying the Foley book so far in audiobook format. It takes place in France so you have all the different accents etc and they are adding to it. So who knows – maybe I will change my mind going forward!

Your Thoughts!

Last month I asked if reviews and ratings impact whether you purchase a book or not. The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month’s question:

If a book you haven’t read is adapted to TV or movie, will you go out of your way to read it first?

I mean it depends on the genre of course. I expect it would have to be a genre you are interested in.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter for example. That is being released on Netflix on March 4th. As it is a genre I am a big fan of, I decided to read the book first. Regardless of how good or bad an adaptation it – it’s always fun for me watching the book “come to life”.

I also feel it adds to the book somewhat; reading it and picturing particular scenes play out on TV.

A friend recommended The Expanse TV show to my wife and me. I’m not a big fan of this type of sci-fi. So even though it is based on the books by James S.A. Corey, I’m not going to read those prior to watching the show.

I feel a lot of that depends on whether it is a book or a series as well. If it’s a one-off standalone novel? Sure there’s a good chance I’ll read it first. But when it is a 10+ book series? It has to be something I am REALLY interested in.

What are your thoughts?

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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