Hi everyone and welcome to halfway through February!

A day late this month.  Well, I guess two days considering there are only 28 days in the month.  The last couple of weeks just flew by.  Not sure what the heck happened but I barely read anything.

I finished Repeat by A.J. Kohler. Overall I enjoyed it although there was a decision a character made at about the 60% part of the book that really bothered me. It just didn’t seem like a realistic decision and they stuck with it for the rest of the book. Took me out of the book somewhat unfortunately and I found myself generally speed reading the rest of it.

Still an enjoyable book though and very different from Replay. The couple who go back in time actually tell her parents that they did so and that made for some amusing conversations.

In my reread of the Gray Man series, I started the third book Ballistic. This one primarily takes place in Mexico and I remember in my initial reading not loving it as much as the others. In this reread I think I can safely say it’s the weakest one.

I think my dislike for it is the same reason I disliked the 2nd book in the Orphan X series; the author creates these larger-than-life superheroes. These lone badasses that can overcome all the odds no matter what is against them. Then when they end up not being able to overcome those odds and are getting beaten time and time again – well it’s just not enjoyable reading.

We want to be able to live vicariously through these characters. Not sit there reading them struggle like we would if we were in that same situation.

Probably one of the reasons Jack Reacher is still so well-loved to this day; we have that sort of faith in his character and he’s never really in trouble.

That’s unfortunately all I have read in the past couple of weeks. I’m still listening to Flat Spin by David Freed, the first book in the Cordell Logan Mystery series. Enjoying it a lot.

Normally my wife reads books based on my recommendations but for once she discovered a book on her own that she really liked and is demanding that I read it soon. It’s called The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch. It seems to be a mix of detective and time travel sci-fi. I’ll likely read it soon.

That’s pretty much it – quiet month on the reading front so far. I’ll have to try and get more reading in over the next couple of weeks.

Let’s get on with the newsletter. I’ve got some reading to do!

Each month we give away 5 prizes to 5 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:

Challa from Brookfield, WI
Don from Fullerton, CA
Bob R. from Southport, NC
Frances C. from San Antonio, TX
Polly P. from Lousville, KY

All 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 book or series 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!

Hearts on the Rails Series by Rachel Wesson

Rachel is an excellent author with multiple book series you can check out but her most popular is the Hearts on the Rails series.

The first novel is Orphan Train Escape which is the story of
Bridget Collins. She is going through a rough time. She has two young siblings under her wing and she needs to get out of New York, but her options are limited. She gets the opportunity when a priest sends her as an outplacement agent on the orphan train that runs from New York out west. She works alongside Carl Watson with almost forty orphans under their care. The orphans are all dealing with their own pain, as is Carl, and through helping them – Bridges finds a new calling in life to help these children find happy homes.

Thanks to Pat L. for the recommendation on Rachel. Pat wrote “She has several series and I have read them all by now. There is always some true historical information in her stories and her characters are lifelike and very loveable. Some of her books are difficult to read in that they discuss difficult time periods. Orphan Trains, Orphan girls turned to mail-order brides, the Depression, World War II, and real life dramas, like the sinking of the General Slocum.”

Check out our Rachel Wesson page for more details.

Orphan X Series by Gregg Hurwitz

This series started in 2016 and is still going strong today. It features Evan Smoak in books that fit into the spy thriller genre. If you’re a fan of Bourne, Rapp etc you’ll love this series.

Now I personally tried this series a couple of years ago. Absolutely loved the first book. Then found the second book really disappointing which I touched upon above. But the latest book in the series, Prodigal Son, came out in January and I received a lot of great feedback for it. Thanks to everyone who wrote in – way too many of you to mention!

So I am going to give this series another try and based on the e-mails I received; it’s well worth another recommendation in here. See our Gregg Hurwitz page for more details. Looking forward to trying it again based off the feedback as like I said – I thought the first book was fantastic.

Dark Iceland Series by Ragnar Jonassen

If you’re a fan of the Scandinavian crime thrillers, then this series by Ragnar Jonasson is right up your alley.

Ragnar is from Iceland and the first book in this series is Snowblind. It’s one of our more popular Scandinavian series and I was surprised to discover I haven’t recommended it within this section before.

Reader “The Clouters” wrote in with this recommendation:

“I just finished reading Snow Blind by Ragnar Jonasson. The story takes place in an isolated fishing village in the fjords of northern Iceland, not far from the Arctic Circle, Siglufjordur, only accessible via a mountain tunnel, extreme darkness and snow in winter. Ragnar nailed the claustrophobia of the small village, you get sucked in, you feel it, you experience it, when a writer can take you along with the story, for me he has given me an experience I will remember for a long time. ”

I love that last sentence as I love when books are able to give you that sort of experience. If you also want to experience it, check out Snowblind!

Orchard Mystery series by Sheila Connolly

This is a cozy mystery series authored by Sheila Connolly. It takes place in Massachusetts and features Meg Corey. Meg has inherited her mother’s estate which includes an old colonial home and an apple orchard. Meg decides to manage the orchard due to the housing market being bad at the time.

Of course being a cozy mystery series we know what happens next! Her former flame from Boston is found dead in the septic tank on her property and Meg is the prime suspect. Meg has to investigate the murder to prove her innocence and save the orchard.

If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries there is 12 books in this series. For me it’s always about the puns in the titles. Bitter Harvest, Picked To Die and Seeds of Deception. I love that sort of thing.

Check out the Orchard Mystery series.

Desert Island Series

I asked readers on our Facebook page – if you were stranded on a desert island but could take one book series with you, what would it be? . Below are the responses and for further reading, you can see the mailbag we ran on that topic:

Random Top 10 of the Month

10 Pages People Spent the Most Time On in January:

This is a list of the top 10 pages that visitors spent the most time on in January. Perhaps they were reading the page or just left their browser open. Either way here they are – always a fun way to randomly discover authors etc.

  1. Frederick Forsyth (Thrillers, crime fiction)
  2. Michele Scott (Mystery novels)
  3. Kate O’Hearn (Children & YA Fantasy)
  4. Frieda Klein (psychological thriller series)
  5. Tim Myers (cozy mysteries)
  6. Judith Michael (Romance & contemporary fiction duo)
  7. Jennifer Rush (YA Fantasy)
  8. Howard Fast (Variety of subjects)
  9. Richard C. Hale (Thrillers, action/adventures)
  10. Double Trouble (Christian fiction children’s books)

New Author Spotlight: Kiley Reid

This month we are featuring Kiley Reid.

Kiley Reid is an American author out of Philadelphia who burst on the scene with her hit debut novel, Such a Fun Age. The book, according to Reid, explores “class dynamics in tiny microcultures” and this book explores how class works within the world of babysitting. The novel is set in Philadelphia where Reid herself lives.

The book got a lot of buzz right away and has already seen the film and television rights acquired by Queen & Slim writer/producer Lena Waithe. Kiley prefers to read and write about the moments in life when etiquette and class drop off and people are forced to deal with each other. Revealing moments like this are where she really finds inspiration and wants to write more about as a commentary on social media, sexual consent, class, and race. Reid has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Kiley has a new short story upcoming within the Currency series which is an Amazon original stories series releasing later this month and features authors such as Curtis Sittenfeld and Emma Cline.

For more details, see our Kiley Reid page.

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!)

Reader Mailbag:

This month I am asking: what is the most unusual or interesting environment created by an author that really surprised and engaged you.

This one was suggested by Peter. He also wrote his answer to help give you ideas which was:

“My answer would be a book I mentioned a month or so ago by Raymond Khoury – Empire of Lies – aka The Ottoman Secret. The whole concept of the world having been altered by someone finding a way to travel back in time and impact battles that decided how the planet was organized and how it grew into something completely different. It was something so much different from the usual fiction or mystery genre’s that it was difficult to get started but kept me enthralled throughout.”

First one that pops into my head is The Warehouse by Rob Hart. Who knew a novel that takes place in what is essentially an Amazon warehouse could be so enthralling?

While it’s not really unusual – I found I really enjoy books that take place in small towns or communities. Many Bentley Little novels feature small towns and that was where it really stuck out to me that I enjoy those sort of environments. Last year I read Never Ask Me by Jeff Abbott. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book but it took place within a neighborhood community and I found that kept me reading.

Sci-fi is a topic that is hit or miss with me, but two books over the years that pop to mind are Desolation Road by Ian McDonald, and The Martian Chronicles by the legend Ray Bradbury. That was my first introduction to Bradbury and I really didn’t think I’d like the book. Boy was I wrong. I read through it once per year.

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.

Order of Books » Newsletter » OrderOfBooks.com February 2021 Mid-Month Newsletter

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