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

Amazon First Reads April 2021

As you all know I always look forward to see what Amazon First Reads has in store for us. This is the first month in a while that they haven’t included children’s picture book in the line up but they have added a young adult book instead.

This months choices are:

Domestic Suspense

The Aftermath by Gail Schimmel, Pages: 349, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: Three women: a mother, a daughter, a friend. Can they save each other from the past?

It’s been twenty-six years since the accident, but Helen still lives on autopilot, going through the motions of work and motherhood. Her one wish is for her daughter Julia to settle down with her own family—so Helen can let go.

Julia has dealt with her mother’s emotional distance by looking for love in all the wrong places. But when her latest choice drives away her best friend, Claire, Julia realises she’s on her own.

Impossibly perfect Claire is so busy caring for everyone—even her cheating ex-husband—that she’s forgotten to look after herself. Reeling from Julia’s betrayal, she doesn’t know who to trust.

As their lives unravel, these three women reconnect in unexpected ways. But with a devastating secret still hanging over them, will they ever be able to leave the past behind?

Revised edition: Previously published as The Accident, this edition of The Aftermath includes editorial revisions.

Contemporary Fiction

An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart, Pages: 373, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: An endearing novel of friendship, forgiveness, and second chances by New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart.

It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.

Suspense

The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda, Pages: 306, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: There is no limit to the lies, suspicion, and secrets that can poison the perfect marriage in this twisting novel of suspense by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.

Kate Nelson had it all. A flourishing company founded with her husband, John; a happy marriage; and a daughter, Ashlyn. The picture-perfect family. Until John left for another woman. Tish is half his age. Ambitious. She’s cultivated a friendship with Ashlyn. Tish believes she’s won.

She’s wrong. Tish Nelson has it all. Youth, influence, a life of luxury, and a new husband. But the truth is, there’s a lot of baggage. Namely, his first wife—and suspicions of his infidelity. After all, that’s how she got John. Maybe it’s time for a romantic getaway, far from his vindictive ex. If Kate plans on getting John back, Tish is one step ahead of her.

She thinks. But what happens next is something neither Kate nor Tish saw coming. As best-laid plans come undone, there’s no telling what a woman will do in the name of love—and revenge.

Historical Fiction

Tears of Amber by Sofia Segovia, Pages: 487, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of The Murmur of Bees comes a transportive novel of two families uprooted by war and united by the bonds of love and courage.

With war looming dangerously close, Ilse’s school days soon turn to lessons of survival. In the harshness of winter, her family must join the largest exodus in human history to survive. As battle lines are drawn and East Prussia’s borders vanish beneath them, they leave their farm and all they know behind for an uncertain future.

But Ilse also has Janusz, her family’s young Polish labourer, by her side. As they flee from the Soviet army, his enchanting folktales keep her mind off the cold, the hunger, and the horrors unfolding around them. He tells her of a besieged kingdom in the Baltic Sea from which spill the amber tears of a heartbroken queen.

Neither of them realizes his stories will prove crucial and prophetic.

Not far away, trying and failing to flee from a vengeful army, Arno and his mother hide in the ruins of a Königsberg mansion, hoping that once the war ends they can reunite their dispersed family. But their stay in the walled city proves untenable when they find themselves dodging bombs and scavenging in the rubble. Soon they’ll become pawns caught between two powerful enemies, on a journey with an unknown destination.

Hope carries these children caught in the crosshairs of war on an extraordinary pilgrimage in which the gift of an amber teardrop is at once a valuable form of currency and a symbol of resilience, one that draws them together against insurmountable odds.

Domestic Suspense

The Watcher Girl by Minka Kent, Pages: 236, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: A woman’s suspicions about her ex-boyfriend become a dangerous obsession in a twisting novel of psychological suspense by Washington Post and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Minka Kent.

Eight years ago, Grace McMullen broke Sutton Whitlock’s heart when she walked away. But it was only to save him from the baggage of her own troubled past. Now all she wants is to make sure he’s okay.

Only everything she learns about him online says otherwise. According to his social media accounts, he placed roots in her hometown, married a look-alike, and even named his daughter Grace. He clearly hasn’t moved on. In fact, it’s creepy. So Grace does what any concerned ex-girlfriend would do: she moves home…and watches him.

But when Grace crosses paths with Sutton’s wife, Campbell, an unexpected friendship develops. Campbell has no idea whom she’s inviting into her life. As the women grow closer, it becomes clear to Grace that Sutton is not the sentimental man she once knew. He seems controlling, unstable, and threatening. And what a broken man like Sutton is capable of, Grace can only imagine. It’s up to her to save Campbell and her baby now—but while she’s been watching them, who’s been watching her?

Book Club Fiction

Take What You Can Carry by Gian Sardar, Pages: 333, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: An aspiring photographer follows her dreams and faces her fears in a poignant novel about finding beauty, promise, and love amid the chaos of war-torn Kurdistan.

It’s 1979. Olivia Murray, a secretary at a Los Angeles newspaper, is determined to become a photojournalist and make a difference with her work. When opportunity arrives, she seizes it, accompanying her Kurdish boyfriend, Delan, to northern Iraq for a family wedding, hoping to capture an image that lands her a job in the photo department. More important, though, the trip is a chance to understand Delan’s childhood and bridge the differences of their pasts. Yet when the return home proves less safe than Delan believed, Olivia is confronted with a reality she had not expected, and is awakened to the dangers of a town patrolled by Iraqi military under curfew and constant threat.

But in this world torn apart by war, there are intoxicating sights and scents, Delan’s loving family, innocence not yet compromised, and small acts of kindness that flourish unexpectedly. All of it will be tested when Olivia captures a shattering, tragic moment on film, one that upends all their lives and proves that true bravery begins with an open heart.

Humorous Fiction

I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin, Pages: 301, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: A road trip can drive anyone over the edge—especially two former best friends—in bestselling author Ann Garvin’s funny and poignant novel about broken bonds, messy histories, and the power of forgiveness.

Widowed Samantha Arias hasn’t spoken to Holly Dunfee in forever. It’s for the best. Samantha prefers to avoid conflict. The blisteringly honest Holly craves it. What they still have in common puts them both back on speed dial: a mutual love for Katie, their best friend of twenty-five years, now hospitalized with cancer and needing one little errand from her old college roomies.

It’s simple: travel cross-country together, steal her loathsome ex-husband’s VW camper, find Katie’s diabetic Great Pyrenees at a Utah rescue, and drive him back home to Wisconsin. If it’ll make Katie happy, no favor is too big (one hundred pounds), too daunting (two thousand miles), or too illegal (ish), even when a boho D-list celebrity hitches a ride and drives the road trip in fresh directions.

Samantha and Holly are following every new turn—toward second chances, unexpected romance, and self-discovery—and finally blowing the dust off the secret that broke their friendship. On the open road, they’ll try to put it back together—for themselves, and especially for the love of Katie.

Young Adult

Only The Pretty Lies by Rebekah Crane, Pages: 272, Publication Date: 1 May 2021

Synopsis: A young love story about breaking painful legacies by the author of The Upside of Falling Down.

Convention doesn’t carry much weight in Alder Creek. It doesn’t in Amoris Westmore’s family either. Daughter of a massage therapist and a pothead artist, inheritor of her grandmother’s vinyl collection, and blissfully entering her senior year in high school, Amoris never wants to leave her progressive hometown. Why should she?

Everything changes when Jamison Rush moves in next door. Jamison was Amoris’s first crush, and their last goodbye still stings. But Jamison stirs more than bittersweet memories. One of the few Black students in Alder Creek, Jamison sees Amoris’s idyllic town through different eyes. He encourages Amoris to look a little closer, too. When Jamison discovers a racist mural at Alder Creek High, Amoris’s worldview is turned upside down.

Now Amoris must decide where she stands and whom she stands by, threatening her love for the boy who stole her heart years ago. Maybe Alder Creek isn’t the town Amoris thinks it is. She’s certainly no longer the girl she used to be.

*** Which book will you choose? If you come back on 5 April 2021 I’ll let you know which book I chose.. ***

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