Hi everyone and welcome to November.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their childhood memories last month. I enjoyed reading those so much. You can check them all out in the reader mailbag at the bottom of the newsletter.

It was just over one year ago that I decided to dive into the world of audiobooks, and asked you all for your opinions on the Top Audiobook for a First Timer.

It’s only fitting that I start the newsletter with an audiobook-related story.

One thing I’ve picked up from talking to everyone about audiobooks is how important the narrator is to you. And I do get that to a degree. I’ve listened to over 30 audiobooks in the last year. There have been a few narrators that have turned me off. And a few stood out above the rest (such as Scott Brick).

But the narrator has never really enhanced the experience for me – up until this last week when I started listening to Razorblade Tears. It is written by S.A. Cosby and narrated by Adam Lazarre-White.

Adam brings something special to the story with the language, accents, etc that you could never get just via the written word unless you are from that area of the US. He brings this story to real life.

It’s the first audiobook I’ve listened to where I would actively encourage people to listen to it over actually reading it. I’m excited to see that Adam also narrates the other novel written by S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland. I’ll be listening to that next!

Just incredible – and now I truly “get” what a quality narrator can bring.

Speaking of audiobooks – I tried out the faster listening speed for The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland. Just couldn’t do it! The fastest I think I could listen was 1.2x then anything above that – it was like it was being narrated by Alvin and the Chipmunks! I’ll certainly use that slightly faster speed for slower audiobooks in the future though.

I really didn’t enjoy that one. It ended up being more of a domestic / relationship drama than a psychological thriller. Looking at the reviews I saw many didn’t like it too much either – but they kept mentioning The Child Next Door and praising that one by Shalini.

I decided to read that one as opposed to listen, and really enjoyed it. Lots of mystery to it. There is a bit of a “twist overload” where all of the mysteries get answered all in the space of a couple of paragraphs but overall a very solid book, and a lot of good mysteries within.

I’m going to continue to go through her standalone thrillers, but they are ones that I will read rather than listen to. Just seems like one of those authors where I enjoy her books more when I take them in that way.

I read Artemis by Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary. It was an enjoyable enough book about a smuggler who lives in a community on the moon. Andy made the decision to go with a female protagonist and I felt that was the wrong choice. While I always enjoy a strong, female character there are very few males who can write them.

It has a lot of negative reviews but from looking at them – most are after reading The Martian so they went in very hyped up. I enjoyed it, even if it did have my biggest pet peeve of the actual story ending at 90%, so that junk could be crammed in at the end. Book previews, interviews with the author etc, Always such an abrupt ending when you’re expecting more of the story and it’s a trend that needs to end.

I read the new Jack Reacher book, Better Off Dead. I liked that it started like my favourite Reacher novel Persuader – with a crazy scene that you can’t believe is actually happening. Then the book walks it back a bit to explain why it’s happening.

I loved this book honestly. One of the better Reacher books. I don’t think Lee (and now Andrew) ever gets enough credit for the story he writes, the mysteries he crafts, or even the mini-world he builds. He always does such a great job at laying out and helping you picture the setting that the books often take place in.

He’s always able to create characters on a whim and make you either love or hate them – either way, you care about them. An extremely satisfying read.

Quick website note – I’ve now added a search bar to the top of the site, as well as on the sidebar. I had a few people mention that ads were pushing the search bar down. My apologies for that and it isn’t intentional – the ads are all run by AI and placements are automatic.

That means that the search will always be at the top of the site and no ads will be pushing it down anymore. And I promise – if I ever win a non-Shirley Jackson lottery, the first thing I will do is remove ads!

That’s about it for me – let’s get on with the rest of 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:

Kim from Bedford, OH
Diane K. from Chicago, IL
Valerie from Denver, CO (Email starts with vak)
Diane from Columbia, SC (Email starts with hug)
Smokey from Waconia, MN

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


Quote of the Month

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

 – By Mason Cooley.

Submitted by Ann

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!

DI Galena & DS Easter Series by Joy Ellis

Joy Ellis is an author of multiple crime thriller series, but her most popular is the Nikki Galena and Joe Easter series.

This series began in 2010 with the book Crime on the Fens. Galena is a detective who has nothing left to lose and has stepped over the line too many times. She’s given one last chance and is assigned a new partner, the squeaky clean DS Joseph Easter.

There are currently 13 books in this series. This is also one of those series where the locale is loved by many readers which I know can be a big factor. Visit our Joy Ellis page for more details.

Vineland by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon is one of those authors I’ve always meant to read but never got around to it. Hopefully will change that someday.

Fin wrote in to recommend this one, stating:

“I was always intimidated to read Thomas Pynchon because it felt like “Capital L: Literature”, but after reading Vineland I realize that I was wrong. Yes, it is very well written and he plays with prose in a way that only the greatest writers can, but it is also very weird, historical, and funny. For example, the book features TV-addicted Tubeheads, a Ninjette, and a former hippie who has to jump through a window to maintain his disability check. To say more would spoil the fun. A lot of people consider this to be Pynchon’s worst which if that’s the case, I can’t wait to read his best.”

Well, that’s sold me. If it’s sold you, visit our Thomas Pynchon page.

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

Anita was a very talented writer who wrote over various genres.

The Weight of Water is the story of Jean, a photographer who visits an island to research a crime that occurred 100 years ago. There are two intertwining stories and this book is very highly regarded.

Patti wrote in to recommend it, stating “if you have not ever read TWOW, I highly recommend it. Anita Shreve did an incredible job in that book, and I couldn’t put the book down. I actually wrote a paper on it when I was in university, about the concept of personal space. Again, great book.”

It was also made into a movie starring Elizabeth Hurley. Like many adaptations – that one wasn’t as well received!

Visit our Anita Shreve page for more details.

Alex Kovacs Series by Richard Wake

Richard was actually featured in our New Author Spotlight a couple of years ago in the newsletter, and it’s good to see he is still going strong.

His Alex Kovacs series now has 7 books in it, all very popular with readers.

The first book in the Alex Kovacs series is Vienna at Nightfall. It takes place in Europe in the 1930s. The Nazis are marching in and around Austria and the question is – can one person make a difference? And if so what can they do? Alex has the opportunity to stop the Nazi invasion and jumps at the chance of taking on this spy mission.

John recommended him and said “An author I enjoy is Richard Wake who writes the Alex Kovacs WW-2 spy series. Very much like Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther.”

Visit our Richard Wake page for more details.

Kingsbridge Series by Ken Follett

This series has received numerous mentions over the years in our mid-month newsletter lists, so I wanted to recommend it here. The first three books actually had a 10-year gap in between them prior to a prequel coming out last year.

Patti wrote in to recommend this one as well and said:

“So, I’m breaking one of my own cardinal rules – re-reading a book I’ve already read. When I read “Pillars of the Earth” fifteen or so years ago, I loudly stated it was the BEST BOOK I had ever read. In short order, I read the 2nd book in that trilogy and fell in love all over again. Then there was a 10-year gap before the 3rd book came out, and I just hadn’t gotten around to it, and then last year the 4th book (labeled the prequel) came out. I vowed to get back to the series, so I decided to reread Pillars to refresh my perspective 😊

The audible version of the entire series is read by John Lee, and his performance hands down is simply masterful. I don’t believe any other narrator could do the series justice – and bear in mind, each of these books is roughly in the 40+ hours range, so that is saying a lot.

Long story short, I am LOVING the do-over of the series and enjoying every second. (And ps, I feel the same way about Follett’s Century Trilogy; amazing series, also read by John Lee, and also in the 30+ hours each category). ”

Always enjoy reading that sort of passion.

November 2021 Book of the Month: Game On by Janet Evanovich

Our book if the month is Game On by Janet Evanovich. It is the 28th book in her highly popular Stephanie Plum series.

Game On releases tomorrow, November 2nd.

Plum is woken up by footsteps in the middle of the night. It turns out to be Diesel, a fellow apprehension agent who she hasn’t seen in a couple of years.

Diesel is there as they are both after the same fugitive. Stephanie isn’t sure whether Diesel is her competition or her partner – but either way the two are going to work together to try to track down an ingenious computer hacker.

More details or order now.

10 More Notable Books Releasing Nov 1-15

November 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: Breast Cancer Research Foundation
UK: DementiaUK
Canada: The Boundless School
Australia: Guide Dogs

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

Audiobook Arena

We have a lot of audiobook fans and invite book listeners to write their own column every month, or just write in a few audiobook thoughts. Want to discuss audiobooks or a favourite narrator? Hit reply and write and we’ll feature your column in a future newsletter!

By Jenny

Ever since you first asked about audio books I have been trying to remember the first one recommended to me years ago that I so enjoyed. It finally came to me. It is a good book series but I was told not to read it but to listen to it because the narrator made it so special. She is so good with voices and accents and was able to make all the characters sound different. The book may have a limited audience as it is Christian Fiction but it is the book that made me fall in love with listening to audio books in my car. Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. The narrator is Barbara Rosenblat. Now that I have remembered all this I am inspired to look up what else Barbara has narrated and listen to those!


By Dan

Taking daughter to college years age we would listen to audio books.

One on the best was by Dean Koontz “Life Expectancy” . The style of this book and how he ended chapters will not help you running pace….you will probably stop and think what the heck!

I am guessing you might have read it .. but the audio version made it more exciting and enjoyable!!

Another great audio book is “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy


By Ruth

hi – I think the unabridged or abridged audio book discussion is an interesting one…but you summed it up… “just not the type of book you can listen to while exercising”.

Think how popular the Diana Gabaldon books are. After reading the books I listened to Outlander on 17 tapes (TAPES!). Then I listened to an abridged edition of her second book on 3 tapes. What was the point of that? I was listening while commuting. The abridged barely got the story line across much less any flavour. I am for full editions. Listen when appropriate.

I found when listening to books while I ran that I slowed or increased pace depending on what was happening in the story. Had to go back to music….with a steady beat.

I am listening to Crimson Lake by Candice Fox (i choose my books from the mystery section of Available Now selections from the library). It is read by Australian Euan Morton. I would listen to the phone book if he was reading it.

Your Thoughts:

Last month I asked what childhood memories you have involving reading. The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month’s question is testing the ol’ memory banks again:

What new-to-you authors did you discover and enjoy this year?

If you didn’t read any new authors that’s okay – just let me know what authors kept you busy this year with reading.

I’ve discovered many new authors this year but I will just list a top 5:

Bentley Little: Discovered him at the beginning of the year and really enjoy him. I rarely read the horror genre but he has been the most memorable for me this year.

Rob Hart: Only read the one book The Warehouse but loved it. Bought a few copies for people, recommended it to others etc. Looking forward to reading more by Rob.

S.A. Cosby: As mentioned in the opening of the newsletter.

Peter Swanson: I listened to one of his standalone thrillers and the next month was taken up by me listening to the rest of them. Love Peter!

Louise Penny: I’ve only read the first two books in the Gamache series so far, but I am looking forward to revisiting Three Pines. It feels like the perfect series to read at Christmas.

What about you? What new-to-you authors did you discover and enjoy this year?

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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Order of Books » Newsletter » November 2021 Newsletter

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