Hi everyone and welcome to May!

Hope everyone had a good reading month in April. I went through quite a few books both reading and listening. I’m so glad I got into audiobooks as I still read the same amount of books as usual – but I am getting through even more books thanks to being able to listen to them as well.

On that note, I mentioned it last month but a few people missed it – when possible I listen to audiobooks via my public library. Each public library uses different apps etc – my library use cloudlibrary while others use Overdrive for example – but if you are looking to get into audiobooks check out your library first. I only purchase off audible when they aren’t available via the library.

Additional quick newsletter note – prior to April 2020, I used to give $25 gift cards to 2 random subscribers and then 2 random mailbag contributors. When COVID hit I decided to up that to a total of 10 gift cards. That was initially meant to be temporary but I’ve had a few people ask how much longer that will last and just want to confirm it is a permanent change – I won’t be reverting back to just the four.

I received probably my favourite newsletter response ever last month. Someone sent me a ranting e-mail about the fact that I listed an author who only had 2 books out. I’ll just copy/paste the entire thing:

——————-

This “author” has only written 2! books, of which you claim 2 are in a series from 2017 & 18! No books since!!!!!!!!
Why are you wasting our time with your asinine mailings.
I only consider someone to be an author if they have got at least a dozen of more books published.
Please stop publishing crap like this and get back to being serious about yr mailings.
If you miss a week or 4 that is ok with me. I just hate wasting time having to research every author you recommend before accepting that the author you are featuring is not worth my time.

——————-

I can’t stop laughing at what they “consider” to be an author. It takes all kinds!

Actually that might be my second favourite newsletter response. My favourite is still the person who replied to a newsletter calling me a sexist for “never mentioning female authors”. In case you were wondering – the newsletter they were replying to had over 30 female authors mentioned!

Speaking of e-mails – unfortunately, I can’t find their name; but a librarian I believe had sent me an e-mail, and in their e-mail signature they had a great book quote that I just had to share:

“By slipping a book off the shelf one can slide right into a different world and become anyone who lived inside it.”

Love that!

I’ve been working my way through the Peter Swanson standalone thrillers and have just one left to go. Heads up he only has 7 books so he’s not really an author yet! I’d say every one I have read are excellent and worth reading if you are a fan of standalone thrillers. I’ve put my favourite one in the recommendations section.

I read my 6th Bentley Little book – The Influence. Weakest so far. Still good of course – just not on par with the others. The goal is still to read every one of those.

Actual physical reading this month was very low so I am very thankful for my new audiobook addiction.  We’re in complete lockdown here with schools closed but my wife is still considered an essential worker and is away 8-12 hours per day.

Makes things very overwhelming time-wise, but if my biggest complaint is “I haven’t found time to read” then I consider myself very lucky.

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:

Jan from Kennewick, WA
Jean B. from Henderson, NV
Roger from Whitney Pont, NY
Lynette K from Ashland, OR
Gloria from Kanab, UT

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 Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

It was between this one, the first standalone thriller Peter actually wrote, and Every Vow You Break. All of Peter’s books are excellent though, and if you are a standalone thriller fan are worth reading.

This one was inspired by Strangers on a Train. A man and a woman meet in an airport bar, and find out they are on the same flight. They get to talking and the man confesses, jokingly, that he wishes his wife were dead. More conversation on the plane – and the two come to an agreement to kill the wife.

Now on a personal level what hooked me right away was just the setting of an airport bar. Boy how I miss those! So many pleasant memories of lots of time to kill, while I sit back with a book and a beer.

Something different about this book too is that a couple of twists were predictable but in a good way. Where you are reading it, have your suspicions, then it’s confirmed and you yell out loud “I KNEW IT!”.

Check out the Peter Swanson page for more details.

The Terminal List by Jack Carr

This is the first book in the James Reece series which currently has four books in it. It’s along the lines of Rapp, Gray Man etc.

Reece is a Navy SEAL who is leading his team on a mission when an ambush occurs and everyone except Reece are killed. Reece returns home only to discover his entire family murdered and that the people behind this work within the US government.

Reece is out for revenge. Plain and simple.

Now I’ll be honest – I Read the first book in this series last year. It was one of those books that hit all the checkmarks for a book I would love; yet it just didn’t hook me at all. Not sure why. But it is a very popular series and loved by many readers.

On top of that I do a lot of research each week on best seller lists to prioritize who I should add to OOB, and Jack’s books were all over the lists the last month. So while it’s a genre I love yet I am not a fan of it myself, I have to recommend it here. If you read it let me know what you think. I’m still debating reading the second one.

See the Jack Carr page for more details.

Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester

In the mid-month newsletter I had the list of top UK authors, as listed by our Facebook followers. I received lots of “hey you forgot this author” e-mails. Blame our Facebook commenters, not me! 😉

I thought I would look to recommend a few of the omissions in future newsletters. We’ll start with the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester which John suggested. This is a historical fiction series which is timeless.

The series began in 1937 and ran until 1967 with 11 books and various short stories. Great series. If you are a fan of historical fiction, check it out.

Ancient Egypt Series by Wilbur Smith

Dusty e-mailed to point out that I had never listed Wilbur Smith in the recommendations section, and I was surprised to see that was the case. Maybe it was something in my subconscious – trying to keep up with his chronological orders over the years has been a real headache!

Wilbur is an author from South Africa and is just phenomenal with some incredible historical fiction. The Ancient Egypt series is a great way to get started with Wilbur. Technically they take place within the same universe of Ballantyne & Courtney but I wouldn’t worry about that. There are 6 books in the series, and a great introduction to Wilbur if you are like many readers who always wonder where to start.

Colter Shaw series by Jeffery Deaver

The third novel in this series comes out later this month so I thought it would be a good time to recommend. There are currently two novels and a few short stories.

Colter Shaw is someone who travels the country, performing jobs such as locating missing persons for money. He is known as a “reward seeker”. The first actual book in the series is The Never Game (Captivated is a short story). Women are being kidnapped, with the clues pointing towards a video game. It looks like the person behind this is trying to bring the game to life.

A very popular series and I like these series that see a mix of short stories and full length novels. It shows that the author has ideas that he knows won’t stretch an entire book; and also that he is really passionate about the character and series.

May 2021 Book Of The Month:

Legacy by Nora Roberts.

Nora Roberts ages like a fine wine. .She has been writing since the 80s and still brings the goods. I received so much popular feedback last year over her standalone novel, Hideaway.

Nora is back this month, with Legacy. This is a romantic suspense novel and is the story of Adrian Rizzo. Adrian met her father for the first time at age 7, and he almost killed her. She was then shipped off to her grandparents.

10 years later, Adrian is doing well and following in her mother’s footsteps and is becoming a minor celebrity. Then the death threat starts. Vicious rhymes that she starts receiving.

Early reviews for this one are nice and positive. Add it to your reading list.

May 2021 Book Of The Month

May 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 restrict to the country you reside in of course – pick any you wish to support!

USA: ALS Therapy Development Institute (Work focused on a cure)
UK: SpecialEffect (Helping people with disabilities to enjoy video games – link is to a fundraiser my friend is running. Would love for you to support him!)
Canada: Jump Math (Education)
Australia: The Fred Hollows Foundation (Ending avoidable blindness)

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

Classic of the Month

This month we are featuring the Inspector Bonaparte series by Arthur William Upfield.

This series began in 1929 and went strong for almost 40 years.

Julia is the one that wrote in with this recommendation. She said:

“For classics the Arthur upfield series set in Australia in the 30s and 40s is excellent. note that some dialogue and sentiments may be offensive to 2021 sensibilities.”

Inspector Bonaparte has parents who are interracial and was born at a time when this was forbidden.

For more details, see our Arthur Upfield 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 Patti

OK Graeme, so I am a huge audible reader, and I can give you several good recommendations. I tend to lean towards long audios, because it just means I get to enjoy them longer. Obviously, do NOT get abridged.

I love Scott Brick as a narrator – try his audible version of Nelson DeMille‘s “The Lions Game.” Technically, that book is listed as #2 in the John Corey series, but it is really where the action gets going good. The sequel to that book, which is listed as #5 in the series, is called “The Lion,” and it is even better! Scott Brick actually becomes the persona of John Corey in those books! Almost 25 hours of great listening each 😊😊😊

Another favorite author/narrator combo is Ken Follet and John Lee. Book #1 of the Century Trilogy, “The Fall of Giants,” is an excellent example. That book follows the lives of five families: American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh in the years leading up to WWI. John Lee does a fabulous job of creating voices that perfectly correspond to those different tongues. Book #1 is 30 hours long; the next two books in that series are equally outstanding.😊 Follett and Lee also teamed up on “The Pillars of the Earth,” which I have been known to say is the best book I ever read. The first line of that book is “The small boys came early to the hanging…” I was totally captivated from the first sentence, and this magnificent book is 40 hours of sheer literary joy. The prequel book in this series comes out next month, and I have already pre-ordered it. Follett is well known for his exceptional research, and both of these series are a testament to that well deserved reputation.

Lastly, I cannot leave out a couple more favorite narrators. Anything read by George Guidall is going to be time well spent – he does a great job with bad guys; same goes for anything read by Davina Porter – she has narrated the entire “Outlander” series, and she also excels at different voices for different people. Ditto David Chandler, who reads the Joe Pickett series as well as the Cork O’Connor series.

I could go on and on and on! You have heard me say many times that a good book is made even better in the hands of a skilled narrator, and I have only touched the surface here. I will say that books read by Dick Hill are not on the top of my list, nor are books read by Stephen King. He should stick to writing them and let someone else read them, lol.

By Ann

The first audio book I had recommended to me was The Camel Club by David Baldacci. I have been hooked ever since.

By Rich

Regarding a first audio book recommendation, know that I still prefer the tactile pleasures of a hardcover or trade paperback book. However several years ago I embarked on a string of home improvement projects and listened to audio books to lessen some of the tedium. I was surprised to find how well Charles Dickens was adapted to this medium. The book I recommend though is from one of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman whose novel “The Anansi Boys” was actually enhanced by the audiobook version. Dare I say I enjoyed it more than the book read. The local accents and sense of atmosphere it created I could not have replicated by reading the written word.

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 Phillip. This is from the Kansas City Public Library
Love it so much!!!
Send in your own to site@orderofbooks.com or by replying!
Images, jokes, etc. We’ll take it all!

Your Thoughts:,/h2>

Last month I asked what book would you like to see made into a movie or TV show.

The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking:

Do you have a regular reading schedule? When do you read?

Obviously, I have really got into audiobooks over the last little while – I never shut up about it!. I run 3-4 times per week and I also do a minimum of 10k steps each day. Those long periods outside I am always listening to an audiobook so I get a lot of reading done that way.

Once or twice per week, my house requires a deep clean that is usually a couple of hours long. Kids are great, aren’t they? Thankfully I now look forward to that as for me it’s just bonus reading time thanks to audiobooks.

As for the actual act of reading – I have a Kindle that I carry around the house with me constantly. Whenever I have a few minutes to myself I’ll read a chapter or two. Watching a TV show with the family and they pause it to go to the bathroom? Reading time! Computer slow and I need to reboot it? Reading time. I try and pop in the hot tub each night for about an hour and that’s the only “scheduled” reading period I have.

Otherwise, it just depends on the book. I find the book quality dictates how much I read and when. There are some books I just get hooked on and I’ll take a few hours off from work to just read. Others I enjoy but don’t have that “addiction” where the story just consumes me and my reading time is a lot less.

How about you? When do you read? What dictates it? Do you have any sort of schedule?

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 » May 2021 Newsletter

4 Responses to “May 2021 Newsletter”

  1. Steve Craven: 2 weeks ago

    I read every night when I go to bed. Really relaxes me and helps me sleep. Most of the time its between a half hour to a hour but at times I have this affliction that its to good to put down. Needless to say that interferes with sleep.
    Thanks for the newsletter. Look forward to it every time.

    Reply

    • Graeme: 2 weeks ago

      You are welcome. Thanks for the feedback and for contributing to the mailbag. Much appreciated 🙂

      Reply

  2. Nancy Williams: 2 weeks ago

    So glad we finally got you hooked on audiobooks.

    I agree with Patti on everything she wrote.

    I’m like you, I get all of my audiobooks from my Library. I have so many on my wish list, I think it is like a book on its own. My only problem with using the Library is sometimes it takes so long to get a book, because the book is so popular.

    The only other problem with audio is that they come out long after the book is released and not all authors use audio because it is expensive for them. Otherwise, I am as gung ho as always.

    Keep your ears clean and get a good set of buds.

    Nancy

    Reply

    • Graeme: 2 weeks ago

      I’m quite happy to mix and match with Audible and the library. I started with audible initially – so I was used to paying for them that way. So when they are available on the library app I just consider it a bonus more than anything else. When I pick new authors I’m going to base it on how many they have on cloudlibrary as well first so should save me in the short term. Of course 10 years from now I’ll be buying 50 audiobooks a month no doubt 😉

      Reply

Leave a Reply