#ReadingChallenge, Amazon First Reads, Just for Fun, Reading Challenge

Amazon First Reads January 2021

Well this month Amazon Prime Members like myself are in for a treat. I did wonder if we would be able to choose two books this month with it being January, but I didn’t expect us to have ten books to choose from. I don’t think we’ve ever had that many to choose from.

This months choices are:

Police Procedural

An Eye for An Eye by Carol Wyer, Pages: 426, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.

DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.

But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.

As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?

Suspense

The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice, Pages: 367, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: The Amazon Charts bestselling author of Last Day delivers a haunting thriller about how far one wife is willing to go to expose the truth—and the lengths someone will go to stop her.

After artist Claire Beaudry Chase is attacked and left for dead in her home on the Connecticut coast, she doesn’t know who she can trust. But her well-connected husband, Griffin—who is running for governor—is her prime suspect.

Just before the attack, Claire was preparing for an exhibit of her shadow boxes, one of which clearly accuses Griffin of a violent crime committed twenty-five years ago. If the public were to find out who her husband is, his political career would be over. Claire’s certain her husband and his powerful supporters would kill her to stop the truth from getting out.

When one of Claire’s acquaintances is murdered, the authorities suspect the homicide is linked to the attack on Claire. As the dual investigations unfold, Claire must decide how much she’s willing to lose to take down her husband and the corrupt group of elites who will do anything to protect Griffin’s interests and their own.

Contemporary Fiction

Hadley & Grace by Susanne Redfern, Pages: 344, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: The author of In an Instant delivers a heart-pounding and emotional roller-coaster ride of self-discovery in the tradition of Thelma and Louise.

Needing to escape her abusive marriage, Hadley flees with her two kids, knowing it might be her only chance. A woman who can’t even kill a spider, Hadley soon finds herself pushed to the limits as she fights to protect her family.

Grace, new mother of baby Miles, desperately wants to put her rough past behind her for good, but she finds it impossible when her path crosses with Hadley’s, and her quest for a new start quickly spirals out of control and turns into a terrifying flight for survival.

Stronger together than apart, the two find their fates inextricably entwined, and as the danger closes in, each must decide how much she is willing to risk for the other.

A powerful story of self-discovery, Hadley and Grace is the heart-racing tale of two women facing insurmountable odds, racing to stay one step ahead of the trouble that is chasing them, and discovering new kinds of love and family along the way.

Thriller

Not One of Us by Debbie Herbert, Pages: 303, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of Cold Waters comes a brooding thriller about a woman who must decide if safeguarding her family is worth burying a truth that will haunt her forever.

Thirteen years ago, Jori Trahan’s boyfriend vanished without a trace. Now, after moving back home to Alabama to care for her ailing grandmother and autistic brother, she comes face-to-face with the deadly mystery behind his disappearance.

Jori has a rare form of synesthesia, meaning she can “hear” colors; to her, tones of voice are as unique as fingerprints. With the help of this ability and a sympathetic cop, Jori comes dangerously close to uncovering the truth. But those responsible will go to any length—including murder—to keep their dark secrets buried.

Soon, it seems that no one in the sleepy bayou town is safe, and after Jori’s brother is kidnapped, she knows she must drop the investigation or risk losing her family. But when protecting them means letting an evil deed go unpunished, putting family first may be the last thing she’ll ever do.

Historical Fiction

West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge, Pages: 346, Publication Date: ! February 2021

Synopsis: An emotional, rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America.

“Few true friends have I known and two were giraffes…”

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.

Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

Espionage Thriller

Water Memory by Daniel Pyne, Pages: 358, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: A fast-paced, page-turning thriller that contemplates the consequences of motherhood, memory, and crime as a commodity.

Black ops specialist Aubrey Sentro may be one concussion away from death. But when pirates seize the cargo ship she’s on, she must decide whether to risk her life to save her fellow passengers.

Sentro’s training takes over, and she’s able to elude her captors, leaving bodies in her wake. But her problems are just getting started. Her memory lapses are getting more frequent, symptoms of serial-concussion syndrome.

As she plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with the pirates, she pushes herself to survive by focusing on thoughts of her children. She’s never told them what she really does for a living, and now she might not get the chance.

While her memories make her vulnerable, motherhood makes her dangerous.

Literary Fiction

Gerta by Katerina Tuckova, Translator: Veronique Firkusny, Pages: 459, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: The award-winning novel by Czech author Kateřina Tučková—her first to be translated into English—about the fate of one woman and the pursuit of forgiveness in a divided postwar world.

1945. Allied forces liberate Nazi-occupied Brno, Moravia. For Gerta Schnirch, daughter of a Czech mother and a German father aligned with Hitler, it’s not deliverance; it’s a sentence. She has been branded an enemy of the state. Caught in the changing tides of a war that shattered her family—and her innocence—Gerta must obey the official order: she, along with all ethnic Germans, is to be expelled from Czechoslovakia. With nothing but the clothes on her back and an infant daughter, she’s herded among thousands, driven from the only home she’s ever known. But the injustice only makes Gerta stronger, more empowered, and more resolved to seek justice. Her journey is a relentless quest for a seemingly impossible forgiveness. And one day, she will return.

Spanning decades and generations, Kateřina Tučková’s breathtaking novel illuminates a long-neglected episode in Czech history. One of exclusion and prejudice, of collective shame versus personal guilt, all through the eyes of a charismatic woman whose courage will affect all the lives she’s touched. Especially that of the daughter she loved, fought for, shielded, and would come to inspire.

Memoir

Widowish by Melissa Gould, Pages: 202, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: Melissa Gould’s hopeful memoir of grieving outside the box and the surprising nature of love.

When Melissa Gould’s husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed with uncertainty as Joel’s condition tragically worsened, she offered him the only thing she could: her love and devotion. Her dedication didn’t end with his death.

Left to resume life without her beloved husband and raise their young daughter on her own, Melissa soon realized that her and Joel’s love lived on. Melissa found she didn’t fit the typical mold of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish.

Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charming musician.

A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.

Literary Fiction

The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai, Translated by Lara Vergnaud, Pages: 174, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: From an award-winning Tunisian author comes a stirring allegory about a country in the aftermath of revolution and the power of a single quest.

Sidi lives a hermetic life as a bee whisperer, tending to his beloved “girls” on the outskirts of the desolate North African village of Nawa. He wakes one morning to find that something has attacked one of his beehives, brutally killing every inhabitant. Heartbroken, he soon learns that a mysterious swarm of vicious hornets committed the mass murder—but where did they come from, and how can he stop them? If he is going to unravel this mystery and save his bees from annihilation, Sidi must venture out into the village and then brave the big city and beyond in search of answers.

Along the way, he discovers a country and a people turned upside down by their new post–Arab Spring reality as Islamic fundamentalists seek to influence votes any way they can on the eve of the country’s first democratic elections. To succeed in his quest, and find a glimmer of hope to protect all that he holds dear, Sidi will have to look further than he ever imagined.

In this brilliantly accessible modern-day parable, Yamen Manai uses a masterful blend of humor and drama to reveal what happens in a country shaken by revolutionary change after the world stops watching.

Children’s Picture Book

Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket by Sue Fliess, Illustration by Annabel Tempest, Pages: 42, Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Synopsis: Sadie Sprocket is ready to soar!

Sadie Sprocket is a girl with a big dream—to go to Mars! No one has been to Mars (yet!), so of course that’s where Sadie sets her sights. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals. Together they build a rocket and prepare for the historic journey. And then finally—blastoff!

Sadie and her team make it to Mars, but what will they encounter when they leave the ship? And will they travel home safely as the world watches?

With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. The book includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.

*** Which book will you choose? I have no idea which book I’ll choose as there a couple of books that interest me this month. ***

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