Hi all and welcome to November! Hope everyone had a good Halloween. I dressed up in a Fireball Whiskey costume and stayed home handing out candy to the kids, and fireball jello shots to the parents. Pretty sure I had the most popular house this year!

I had some people telling me the newsletter was cut off and they couldn’t see the reader mailbag question. If you’re having that issue can you let me know? The reader mailbag has been in the newsletter every month and is one of the very bottom sections.

I got back into reading the Harry Bosch series with A Darkness More Than Night.  Honestly out of all the Connelly books I’ve read so far, this was my least favorite.  It was more a “Terry McCaleb” book than a “Harry Bosch” book for the first half and I just couldn’t get into it.  It livened up in the second half and I ended up enjoying it a lot, but that first half was a real chore.

However I enjoyed the Bosch parts so much that I moved onto City of Bones.  That was an excellent book – so good I immediately kept reading the series and went onto Lost Light, another excellent book.  Both of them ended up being those books that you read at bed time for “a couple of chapters” and then next thing you know it’s 3am.

I probably would have kept reading Bosch – and I’m anxious to get back to it – but I’ll always drop everything for a new Jack Reacher book.  I’m about 20% in so far and loving it.  There was a few bad books in the series recently, but the last book and this book I am really enjoying.  It just feels like Lee Child is really enjoying writing Reacher again, as opposed to going through the motions.

For the standalone thriller fans out there, I read the latest book by Teresa Driscoll, I Will Make You Pay. I think it’s her best book so far. Always great seeing an author evolve. So if you enjoy standalone thrillers, check that one out.

I mentioned last month that I read the Forward Collection, a set of 6 short futuristic stories by different authors. This motivated me to read a book by one of the authors which was The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. I’d heard a lot about this book over the past year and have had it purchased on my Kindle for months.

Not sure what to say but yikes – and here I thought Stephen King was bad at writing endings. It was an intriguing book that I couldn’t put down….until the ending when I just wanted to put my Kindle down by throwing it at the nearest wall. Very disappointing.

Read the latest Mitch Rapp book, Lethal Agent. It was so good that I took the time to contact the author, Kyle Mills, and provide him with extremely positive feedback. He dived into the political world much like Vince Flynn used to do, and I felt he did an absolutely incredible job with that. If an author ever really impresses you, take the time to send them an e-mail. They always appreciate it and are usually very conversational as there can be a lot of down time for them.

I spent the first few days of the month in Washington, DC. Yikes! For some reason I envisioned Washington as a dark and dreary place that rained all the time. No idea why. Instead it was like visiting Cancun – except more humid! Props to all you people who not only live there, but wear the suit and dress shirt etc all day long. Not sure how you do it.

Really enjoyed my time there even though it was a short visit. Looking forward to going back – so much to see and do there.

Each month we give away 2 prizes to 2 random subscribers of $25 each in the form of Amazon gift certificates. 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 George from Princeton, KY and Rodger from Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand Both 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!

Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny
I’m sure many of you have read this series but for those who haven’t, I feel the need to mention it again.

The Gamache series is one of the most popular series on our site. It’s been going strong since 2005 and yet whenever a new book comes out, I always get e-mails from readers talking about how great it is. If you’re looking for a series where the quality doesn’t drop, invest your time in the Inspector Gamache series.

Inspector Banks by Peter Robinson
Another excellent “Inspector” series – this one by Peter Robinson and set in Brighton, England.

This series is even longer than the Gamache series but still going strong. Peter started writing this series back in 1987. It was so popular it was adapted into a television series called DCI Banks.

I’m always a big fan of UK authors who tackle the crime thriller genre, and Peter Robinson is no exception.

The Jonathan Quinn series by Brett Battles
I personally haven’t read this series however it’s been on my list forever to read so hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

This one was recommended by Joel, who said:

I recommend The Cleaner by Brett Battles. His Jonathan Quinn Book 1 is part of a 14+ series. Quinn is a Cleaner. After someone is killed, Quinn and associates come in and sanitize the site and move the body to a burial site. Often the story moves In unanticipated ways. A excellent series with strong characters. The stories are good, the author has a style that makes for a comfortable ride. I am on Book #9, and I continue to enjoy the Jonathan Quinn series.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Another one that I personally haven’t read yet, but the enthusiasm by reader Laurie was such that I had to include it in the recommendations. Here’s what she said:

BEST BOOK I EVER READ: THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS
In Jerusalem, at the Association of Canadians and Americans’ library, i was chatting with the librarian about books, and I said, “the best book I ever read is–“. AND WE BOTH SAID AT THE SAME TIME “THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS” By Jan-Philipp Sendker. Please recommend it to your readers.

Always love hearing that enthusiasm about a book. Check it out.

Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
Hyperion Cantos is a series of science fiction novels by American author Dan Simmons. The series follows a group of travelers sent to the Time Tombs on the planet Hyperion.

The story is told through the eyes of each of the travelers.
Dan Simmons started his Hyperion Cantos series in 1989 with Hyperion. The series lasted four novels, ending with The Rise of Endymion in 1997.

November 2019 Book Of The Month

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is probably responsible for many of us staying up way too late at night finishing off one of her standalone thrillers, and the NYT Bestselling author is back on November 5th.

The latest book is The Family Upstairs. A woman, Libby, discovers who her birth parents are and also that she has inherited an abandoned mansion. Life is good for Libby.

Of course the mansion just happens to have a bid history. 25 years ago a 10 month old baby was discovered there unharmed while there were three dead bodies in the house. I’m sure this won’t come back to haunt Libby however, will it?

More Notable Books Releasing in November

Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich
A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci
The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
Criss Cross by James Patterson
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark
Tom Clancy Code of Honor by Marc Cameron
Under Occupation by Alan Furst
The Old Success by Martha Grimes
A Christmas Gathering by Anne Perry
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

New Author Spotlight

A.M. Stuart

We’re a bit light on new authors so please – if you discover some – follow the instructions at the bottom of this section so we can feature them!

This month we are featuring A.M. Stuart as submitted by Laurie. A.M. Stuart has actually written historical fiction under her real name for a couple of years but we’ll give her a pass!

Here’s what Laurie had to say about the first novel in the Harriet Gordon mysteries.

“This is a terrific book. Did not want to put it down. And it is the first in a new series. Despite having a female protagonist the story is raw and gritty. Books tend to”soften” the danger experienced by women. It is also set in a location/ time frame I haven’t come across before – Singapore/1910. The author did a good job of giving you the sense of what it was like to live in that place and time. ”

Check it out.

Each month we feature one new author as recommended by you, the readers. If you have suggestions for an author to feature in this section, please reply or e-mail site@orderofbooks.com. Only rule is that their first book can’t be more than 18 months old. (Although we may make exceptions!)

Audiobook Arena:

Written by Andy F. (Thanks so much Andy, truly appreciate this!)

What Makes a Good Book a Good AUDIO Book?

My wife and I really enjoyed the first foray of OrderOfBooks.com into our favorite literary niche, audio books. It got us on a topic we’ve hashed over before – just what is it that makes an audio book work in that format?

On one thing we both agree enthusiastically and that is the story. Just like in print (and here I include any e-reader device), if we don’t like the author or genre then that’s all there is to it. We also agree that the person reading it must be able to convey what the author intended – and here it gets complicated.

It is my understanding (and I won’t tell you where I pull this from – I’m old enough to not talk that way in mixed company) when looking at a book there are three elements that must “be there” for it to work. These are of course plot, characters, and logic. Of course there are many other components but without these three primary elements no story works. I think of them as the respiratory, circulatory, and brain of any living organism – without these things it dies.

However with audio books there’s something else in my opinion just as important as the trinity mentioned above, and that is delivery. One of the many genres I enjoy is scifi but there are several series (often referred to as ‘universes’ among scifi hard cores) I don’t think transitioned to audio because of the production, or delivery. The last Star Trek I picked up for example had the iconic music inserted too loudly and there were multiple actors (more on this in a moment), who all seemed to think they had to over-voice (my term for an overly dramatic reading) for some reason. I won’t even go into how distracting the sound effects were as they were inconsistently introduced and so loud I often couldn’t even hear the voice actors.

I’ve heard few audio books (meaning “practically none”) that in my opinion worked with multiple narrators. In most cases it seemed the production manager paired one male voice with one female voice, and tried (usually unsuccessfully – tho I admit this is subjective) to have them read specific gender parts. I’ve found the one exception to this is when the author has prefix text before each chapter and this is the only part of the book treated in this way, with the rest of the book read by a single talented voice.

My wife and I generally concentrate on books that have been out for a while. This is because we’re consummate cheapskates, and want to make our purchases from bargain bins, thrift stores, and library book sales. Yes, it’s an addiction. One time we… but I digress. Perhaps we can revisit this in another column entitled “audio books on the cheap”.

In any case, I’d like to close with a few of our favorite ‘universes’ and narrators. There are three we enjoy so much we’ll typically purchase the book without having to see anything else – the title, the author’s name, nor even the genre. The wife and I (as one author puts it “She Who Must Be Obeyed”) have tried quite unsuccessfully to rank these three narrators. It always comes down to whomever we’ve most recently heard – without fail – taking top billing. Therefore, I’ll introduce you to them in the order in which they were introduced to us, with the first being the quite excellent movie, TV, and voice actress Barbara Rosenblat.

We were introduced to Barbara Rosenblat by my brother when he loaned us the first couple audio books in the Amelia Peabody series by Barbara Mertz. Mrs. Mertz wrote under the pen names Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. Ms. Rosenblat brought the height of English Egyptian exploration to light in a way that often enthralled us, and situations which frequently brought us to open laughter. We’ve also enjoyed several other series Ms. Rosenblat has voiced (she’s done over 400 books to date) including some of Mrs. Pollifax adventures.

Another of our favorite voices is that of Jim Dale. Mr. Dale could easily be considered a true Renaissance man as he is an actor, narrator, singer, director, and composer. He may be most well known to the younger American public for his work narrating the entire unabridged Harry Potter series.

To round out our top three list is George Guidall, whom we first met as James Mackintosh Qwilleran. Of course I’m referring to “The Cat Who” series by Lilian Jackson Braun. My wife and I are of one mind when it comes to Mr. Guidall’s rendition of the stories with Koko (Kao K’o-Kung), Yum Yum, and all the other characters found “400 miles north of everywhere”. The few in this series narrated by others were still good, but we longed for his mellow yet dulcet tones each time. It won’t be hard to find a book narrated by Mr. Guidall as he has performed in over 1,300. While I’m not a big Stephen King fan I did get the first of his Dark Tower series because of George Guidall’s name on the cover, and soon I was scouring yard sales, thrift stores, and my local digital library collection for the rest of the series.

I’d like to digress on purpose for one short-ish paragraph, and ask others who are also audio book enthusiasts a serious question. Do you have difficulties transitioning a narrator’s voice from one series to another, and if so do you try to have a minimum ‘down time’ between listening to different stories or series done by the same narrator? I’ve found having an hiatus of several months is necessary before I can listen to any other projects by the same narrator. For example, I jumped almost immediately from an old Cat Who title to Stephen King and just couldn’t do it. I kept expecting references to the Klingenschoen Foundation, Squunk Water, and feelings emanating from a particularly epic mustache!

So, do you have narrators that are on your ‘must have’ list regardless of the author and genre? Do you have any thoughts on what constitutes for you an audio book production ‘must have’ or ‘nope, too intrusive’?

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 Debbie who said “Reading so many covert ops series and stand alone, I never could picture a ghillie suit until I visited the Seals Museum in Ft Pierce, Florida. Hope everyone enjoys 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 you what was the last book you read and how was it? Your feedback is later in the newsletter.

This month I am asking a nice and simple one thanks to the suggestion of reader Sam:

What book or series have you succeeded in getting other people to read the most?

We all recommend books to friends and family I am sure. What one is the biggest success story in terms of recommendation?

For me by far it is the Peter Ash series by Nick Petrie. I know so many people who are Jack Reacher fans and I’ve been able to successfully recommend that series to them. There’s no series out there that quite captures the Reacher character without coming off as a rip off like the Ash series does. Just an incredible series.

I’ve recommended it a lot to readers of this newsletter (as Reacher is the most popular series on our site) and it’s a big hit with everyone.

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. Two people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Reader Mailbag:

Read It Here

Order of Books » Newsletter » November 2019 Newsletter