#ReadingChallenge, Just for Fun, Reading Challenge

Amazon First Reads for May

The first thing I do on the 1st day of a new month is to go straight to Amazon First Reads to choose my next First Read. Yes I may be sad as this is what I do as soon as I wake up, as I’m always curious to what this months books are. Some of these book have been really enjoyable and other not so much.

Every month Amazon Prime Members can choose one of eight books that are due to be published the following month. This months choices are:

Thriller

Thin Air by Lisa Gray. Pages: 287. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: She investigates missing persons—now she is one.

Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself.

To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death.

Psychological Suspense

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie. Pages: 367. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she was found bludgeoned in a rowboat at the MacAllister family’s Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Now, after their parents’ sudden deaths, the MacAllister siblings return to camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate the camp occupies. Ryan needs to sell. Margaux hasn’t made up her mind. Mary believes in leaving well enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done.

But it’s more complicated than a simple vote. The will stipulates that until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t settle the estate. Any one of them could have done it, and each one is holding a piece of the puzzle. Will they work together to finally discover the truth, or will their secrets finally tear the family apart?

Contemporary Fiction

Valencia and Valentine by Suzy Krause. Pages: 254. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist.

Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.

The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common…but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.

Police Procedural

One Small Sacrifice by Hilary Davidson. Pages: 366. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: An apparent suicide. A mysterious disappearance. Did one man get away with murder—twice?

NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling has had her eye on Alex Traynor ever since his friend Cori fell to her death under suspicious circumstances a year ago. Cori’s death was ruled a suicide, but Sheryn thinks Alex—a wartime photojournalist suffering from PTSD—got away with murder.

When Alex’s fiancée, Emily, a talented and beloved local doctor, suddenly goes missing, Sheryn suspects that Alex is again at the centre of a sticky case. Sheryn dislikes loose ends, and Cori’s death had way too many of them.

But as Sheryn starts pulling at the threads in this web, her whole theory unravels. Everyone involved remembers the night Cori died differently—and the truth about her death could be the key to solving Emily’s disappearance.

Historical Mystery

Light in the Shadows by Linda Lafferty & Andy Stone. Pages: 491. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: The discovery of a lost Caravaggio painting yields centuries of deadly secrets in this pulse-pounding novel of historical intrigue and modern-day suspense…

In seventeenth-century Rome, an arrogant and reckless artist named Caravaggio drinks and brawls his way through his violent, insatiable life, all while painting some of the world’s greatest religious works of art. But it is his bitter feud with Giovanni Roero, a brutal knight in the Maltese Order of St. John, that is his fatal error.

Now, in the village of Monte Piccolo, a priest claims to have discovered a lost painting by the famed artist in the storage room of an orphanage. Retired professor A. R. Richman believes it’s a delusional dream. But Lucia, a visiting art student, convinces him otherwise and recruits her best friend, Moto, to join in the quest. They think The Judas Kiss is worth investigating. But tracing its provenance back four hundred years could prove to be just as treacherous as the master’s final days.

Richman, Lucia, and Moto begin chasing the mystery, uncovering a blood feud hidden for years that has now spilled into the twenty-first century. As they follow where it leads—down a trail of murder, betrayal, and vengeance—they find a secret history that someone will kill to keep buried.

Historical Fiction

The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio. Translation by Achy Obejas. Pages: 383. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: In a city as corrupt as it was luxurious, those who dared to dream were bound to pay the price.

Havana, Cuba, 1947. Young Patricio flees impoverished Spain and steps into the sultry island paradise of Havana with only the clothes on his back and half-baked dreams of a better life. Blessed with good looks and natural charm, he lands a job as a runner at El Encanto—one of the most luxurious department stores in the world.

Famous for its exquisite offerings from French haute couture to Arabian silks, El Encanto indulges the senses in opulent extravagance. It caters to visiting Hollywood stars, rising politicos, and prerevolutionary Cuba’s wealthiest power players, including the notorious mobster César Valdés.

Falling in love with the mobster’s young wife, Gloria, is suicide. But Patricio is irresistibly drawn to the beautiful girl with sad eyes, a razor-sharp intellect, and a penchant for both Christian Dior’s clothes and Einstein’s theories. Within the walls of El Encanto, anything seems possible, even a love that promises to heal them and a desire that thrums with the mambo beat of the city itself.

In a reckless love affair that spans half a century, Patricio’s and Gloria’s lives entwine time and again, challenged by every twist of fate—for in a world of murder, betrayal, and revolution, those who dare to reach for paradise seldom survive unscathed.

Young Adult

Before The Broken Star by Emily R King. Pages: 300. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: A fierce young female adventurer battles time itself to claim her destiny in a sweeping new fantasy saga from the author of the Hundredth Queen series.

Everley Donovan is living on borrowed time. The lone survivor of her family’s unexplained assassination, she was saved by an ingeniously crafted clockwork heart. But the time she was given won’t last forever. Now, every tick-tock reminds her how fragile her existence is and hastens her quest to expose Killian Markham, the navy admiral who shattered her world and left her for dead. But Everley’s hunt for justice will be a long and hard-won voyage.

Her journey takes her to a penal colony on a cursed isle, where she will be married off and charged to build the new world. It is here, and beyond, that hidden realms hide, treasures are unearthed, her family secrets are buried, and young love will test the strength of her makeshift heart. When Everley discovers Markham may not be who he seems, her pursuit for truth is bound to his redemption, her tragic history, and her astonishing destiny.

Literary Suspense

The Mask Collectors by Ruvanne Pietersz Vilhauer. Pager: 352. Publication Date: 1 June 2019

Synopsis: A murder investigation becomes a dance with the devil in a breakthrough novel of illusion, conspiracy, and belief.

The alumni of an international boarding school have gathered at a campground in rural New Jersey when a scream breaks the silence of the woods. Classmates are shocked to find journalist Angie Osborne suddenly dead. The medical examiner’s report isn’t what anyone expects. Oddly, the death scene reminds anthropologist Duncan McCloud of a thovile, a Sri Lankan ritual he’s spent years studying.

When Duncan’s new employer, a pharmaceutical giant, sends him overseas under shadowy pretenses, and his wife, Dr. Grace McCloud, starts to receive anonymous warnings to doubt everyone and everything, the threads of a sweeping conspiracy begin to unravel. Risking more than their own lives, Duncan and Grace embark on a treacherous journey through occult ceremonies and their own hidden pasts to discover a secret worth killing for.

In taut, precise language, Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer’s debut novel The Mask Collectors tells a story about deception, the power of belief, and what is left unspoken between husbands and wives.

*** Which book would you choose? I found it quite difficult to choose this month but I ended up choosing Valencia & Valentine. ***

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