Hi everyone and welcome to February. 29 days this month, so one extra day for reading!

I had to laugh – over at BookNotification.com, we just launched the new “tagging” system last month. It allows you to tag books in any way you wish.

So if you want to tag books that you listened to, you could use the tag “Listened to” or “Audiobook”. If you want to tag books recommended by this newsletter, you could tag them as “Recommended by OOB” etc.

My “Want to Read” list has gotten out of control with over 1200 books on it, so I decided to go through and use this new feature to tag books as “Priority TBR”. My thought was I would read the descriptions of books, and tag any that jumped out at me as a “must-read”, and then I’d read them within the next few months.

I thought that I would only tag about 10-20 books as “Priority TBR”. But there are just so many books to read! I ended up with 328 books tagged.

So then I went through those, with the intention of really filtering it down and created the “Top Priority TBR” tag. This time? 122 books. Sigh. So many books, and just not enough time.

Anyway – that’s one of quite a few new features over at BookNotification.com. Be sure to check it out. I’m still in love with the “What’s Next” feature which I used to use all the time at FictFact. I love seeing all the series I am currently reading, and seeing what book is next in the series.

Last month, I wrote about reading challenges and referenced the 52 Book Club Reading Challenge. I said that things like that are really cool, but that reading challenges really aren’t for me.

Well – after sending out that newsletter, my daughter and I started discussing it. Next thing you know, we’ve printed off the 2023 and 2024 reading challenges from that site, and set up some rules where for each book, we’re allowed to mark a maximum of 2 challenges off in each year.

My concern with reading challenges is the mindset – you might be forcing yourself to read books that you don’t want to, simply because of the challenge. But thankfully, I’ve got a more positive mindset in regard to it. I’ll read whatever books I want, and if they happen to mark off any of the challenges then great. If not – no worries there.

It’s resulted in a lot of fun already as we both sat there reading for a couple of hours the same night we printed them off, just to finish a book. Then spent about 30 minutes looking through them all to figure out the best options to mark off.

What’s neat is it has motivated my wife who was slowly reading 1984 and she ended up binging it so she could participate in the challenge too. She then binged the entire Edge of Collapse Series by Kyla Stone in the space of two weeks. A large reason for that is that she loved the series – but being able to check off boxes on the reading challenge was also a motivation.

And now my son, who has only read maybe 5 books in the last two years, is asking about it and planning to start reading some books. As someone who loves reading so much, it gives me great joy getting to do these sort of things with my family.

Last month, I mentioned I was reading The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni and was enjoying it. Unfortunately, it went downhill for me. At that time, it was probably an 8/10 book. However it got right into the weeds, became a Kabbalah Da Vinci Code, and just got very, very dull.

I was actually giving updates to my friend who had read it and how I thought about it. At the 90% mark I told him it’s dropped to 5/10, and then by the time I finished it a 3/10. Unfortunately, not one I’d recommend although if you enjoy The Da Vinci Code, you might enjoy this one more than I did.

I went back to cleaning out my Kindle Unlimited backlog. I read The Stranger in My Bed by Karen King. First book I have ever read by her. It had a very interesting concept — an abusive husband storms out of his house after another fight with his wife. He hops in the car and drives away – only to discover the brakes have been cut.

He gets in an accident and survives, but has amnesia. His last memory is of them arriving home from their honeymoon. So he can’t remember the last two years of his life, or their entire marriage. And is unaware that he has been verbally and physically abusive for the last two years. There’s also so much more he has been unaware of.

Very interesting concept, although it felt like a bit of a backdrop to what was just your standard thriller. In saying that, it certainly caught me out with a twist or two and the author did a great job at a couple of red herrings. Solid effort. I enjoyed it and will be checking out more by Karen.

I mentioned the Edge of Collapse series by Kyla Stone. I started reading this too. I read the prequel novella, Chaos Rising and then the first official book, Edge of Collapse.

Solid series so far. It’s reminiscent of the Survivalist series by A. American which I am currently reading and love. It focuses on if a theorized EMP attack occurs in the USA, knocking out all the power and most vehicles etc. It’s different to a degree in that it is a bit more action-thriller. But if you are a fan of that sort of dystopian fiction, be sure to check it out.

Something interesting I’ve noticed is in regard to audiobooks. I’m learning that they really have to hook me to have me actually listen to them.

I was listen to the 4th novel in the DCI Logan series by JD Kirk. This is a great series with some excellent patter, and a fantastic narrator in Angus King. But it just didn’t have its hooks in me. I think I’ve had it “on the go” for about 2 months and only listened to 30% of it.

I decided to switch it up, and listen to Life Sentence by David Ellis instead. I had previously listened to Look Closer by him, and really enjoyed it. Life Sentence isn’t one of those thrillers with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, it was just an enjoyable legal thriller that I couldn’t stop listening to.

It got to the point where I was finding excuses to go for walks in the -20 weather, with snow everywhere, just so I could listen to it on the go.

Anyway just something neat to really learn about myself when it comes to audiobooks. If I have another one lingering too long, I’ll know to switch it up.

Speaking of audiobooks, obviously options for them are the library and websites such as Audible. another great resource is Scribd. I pay $12.99 CAD a month there, and can listen to as many audiobooks as I want.

I find their selection quite solid, and would recommend checking it out. With this link, you can get two free months of it to try it out. They also offer ebooks as well.

I finished the second season of Reacher. Bit disappointed in that season, to be honest. While I understand the reasoning for introducing the special investigators so early, it just turned it into a generic team action show.

A lot of the action was a bit too over the top. Now that’s fine within the correct context. But most of the show was so serious that it just didn’t fit in well. Moments like Reacher saying “I am a first person shooter”, and that amazing ATM scene from the first episode. That stuff is great! More of that sort of thing please.

The next season has been announced, and it will be based on Persuader; that’s my favourite Jack Reacher book, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Finally, a shoutout to Reut Barak, whose new fantasy series the Evans Witches begins today, with the book titled Forbidden Road. If you are a fantasy fan, be sure to check Reut out. And if you’re looking for some humour, check out the Funny Fairy Tales series.

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:

Pete from Puyallup, WA
Ann A. from Birmingham, AL
Marlene B. from Tucson, AZ
Devin H. from Corvallis, OR
Judy from Chico, CA (sbcglobal email)

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


Quotes of the Month

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
– Commonly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson

“This book is perfect: it was just the right thickness to slip under the leg of my coffee table to make it straight.”
– From a piece of paper tucked inside a book in a charity shop

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”
– Walt Disney

Submit your own quotes; just hit reply. Book-related is great but happy to share non-book related too! Thanks to Trevor and Louise for this month’s submissions. Love seeing quotes from books!

Book Recommendations

In this section, I give 3-5 random book recommendations from readers of the newsletter. They can be old books, they can be new. Feel free to e-mail suggestions to me. Just hit reply. If you wish to add a description for the book around the same size as the ones below that’d be great too!

Zeb Carter Series by Ty Patterson: Nancy wrote in to recommend Ty as a whole, and specifically this series. Here is what they wrote:

“Ty Patterson is my favorite thriller writer. He has four different series and I have read all books in each series. My favorite is the Zeb Carter series. Zeb and his faithful kick ass team go all over the world and take on serious, strong opponents. He gets the locations right, and I feel like I know more about each part of the world he describes. His latest Zeb Carter book, just out, is Rio. If you haven’t read Ty’s books, I urge you to do so. I rate Ty’s books way above Jack Reacher and other popular action heroes”

Instinct Series by Howard Roughan: Sometimes I receive e-mails recommending books, and I can just feel the passion from the person writing it. It makes me want to drop everything and start reading it. Bev wrote in to recommend this series, and that is one of those e-mails. Here is what she wrote:

“There is a series by James Patterson and Howard Rouhgan that I just discovered and would like to recommend — the Instinct series. Frankly, the opening of the first book, “Instinct”, aka ” Murder Games”, wasn’t my cup of tea, because it was the thoughts of a serial killer going through why he or she did what he/she did. Who cares? This almost caused me to stop reading. BUT, the book quickly gets better, and I was fully engaged and sad when the book ended. Book 2 in the series, “Killer Instinct”, was even better. Book 3, ” Steal” is superb. It is packed with twists and turns, which, while unexpected, are completely plausible. In fact, this book needs to be made into a movie! So exciting.”

Malabar House Series by Vaseem Khan: I really thought I had recommended Vaseem Khan and his Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation series in the newsletter before, but I can’t see it in the archives. It is well worth checking out.

This is a recommendation from Ed for his other series which he started in 2020 and currently has 4 books. Here is what he wrote:

“I wanted to write and tell you about an author I found very interesting. Author Vaseem Khan’s main character in his Malabar House crime novels set in India is Persis, the first female police detective in India.

I found this female character well thought-out and developed with the mindset of a good cop. She is daring, bold, and curious.

She lives for her job and knows the burden she carries as the first female detective.
The supporting cast is well-developed and includes her father, a busybody Aunt, and several male police colleagues.

She has spunk and a sharp tongue, which causes her difficulties with her father, Aunt, male associates, and a tortured suitor. The mysteries are intriguing and not easy to guess and solve. One of the interesting aspects of these books is the inclusion of the history of India.”

February Book Of The Month

The Price You Pay by Nick Petrie: This is an incredible month for new books. New Michael Bennett, new Gray Man, new Kristin Hannah novel, new CJ Box – but I’ll never pass up an opportunity to recommend Nick Petrie.

The 8th book in the Peter Ash series comes out this month, called The Price You Pay.

If you are a fan of Jack Reacher, and you’ve never read this series, you need to. I recommend books all day long. Whenever I recommend this series to a Reacher fan, I always get a positive reception.

A fantastic series, and well worth reading. Can’t wait for the latest book. If you enjoy Reacher novels, you need to read Nick Petrie.

10 More Notable Books Releasing in February

And don’t forget you can get updated on all the upcoming books by your favourite authors with your own personalized calendar at BookNotification.com.

February 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 or topics that you can support instead.. Thanks!

Fair Wisconsin
Freedom to Read Foundation
Pajama Program
Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge

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

Pictures of the Month:

Submitted by Donna

Submitted by Dianne

Submitted by Eileen.

Send in your own to site@orderofbooks.com or by replying! Images, jokes, etc. We’ll take it all! Bit of a backlog but working my way through it.

Your Thoughts!

Last month I asked what authors are there whose books you have read all of. The replies are later in the newsletter.

This month, the question is:

“What’s a book series that you have read, that has never dropped the ball in terms of quality?”

By that, I mean there hasn’t been a book in that series that has ever disappointed you.

For example, I love the Jack Reacher series but there have been quite a few books I haven’t enjoyed in that series, so that wouldn’t count.

Which series has basically delivered perfect entertainment every single time?

Two series come to mind for me, right off the bat.

The John Wells series by Alex Berenson. I binged this series a few years back, and every single book in that series delivered. If you are a spy thriller fan, highly recommended.

The Spider Shepherd series by Stephen Leather. This one is even more impressive due to all the changes that have taken place in the protagonists life. Even in one book, where his job is basically to oversee staff monitoring CCTV, it was still an excellent book. I can’t think of any bad books in that series, and if I were to re-read it, I’d read every one.

Actually, I’d add the entire Bosch Universe to that list as well. I haven’t read a bad book in that series yet.

What about you? “What’s a perfect series that you have read with no bad or weak books?”

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 month’s newsletter. Five people will also randomly win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

Reader Mailbag!

Click here to read it.

Order of Books » Newsletter » OrderOfBooks February 2024 Newsletter

2 Responses to “OrderOfBooks February 2024 Newsletter”

  1. Vince Nobrega: 4 months ago

    Just finished reading Front Sight by Stephen Hunter. It’s comprised of three Swagger Family Novellas. The first spotlights Charles Swagger, the second Earl Swagger, and the third Bob Lee Swagger. All are excellent. Each is the type of story that, once you start, is almost impossible to put down.
    I’ve read all of Stephen Hunter’s fiction books, and they’re all superb, so it’s easy for me to recommend them highly to anyone who likes books in the action/thriller genre.


    • Graeme: 4 months ago

      Great to hear Vince. It’s on my list 🙂 Really impressed with the most recent books Stephen has put out.


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