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

Amazon First Reads July 2021

This months choices are:

Contemporary Fiction

The Love We Left Behind by Katherine Slee, Pages: 332, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: A heart breaking, heart warming story of two best friends—and the choices that could tear them apart.

London, 2012. With her adoring fiancé, financial independence and a close-knit group of friends, Erika should have life all figured out—but she can’t shake the feeling that there’s something missing. And when she stumbles upon a reminder of her past one day, she’s confronted with a part of her life she’s spent almost twenty years trying to forget.

1995. Smart, tenacious Niamh is in her second year at Oxford University. Unlike her best friend Erika, she’s shy and feels like she doesn’t belong, so she’s happy to let Erika take the lead in their friendship. But everything changes when she meets Leo and feels the uplifting power of love for the first time.

As Erika’s story takes us back into the past, Niamh’s brings us forward towards the present, until the two meet one fateful summer’s night that will change the path of their friendship forever.

Suspense

Mrs Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott, Pages: 392, publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: In a modern and twisty retelling of Jane Eyre, a young woman must question everything she thinks she knows about love, loyalty, and murder.

Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationship, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal—a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts.

But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is sceptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter.

And yet her deepening feelings for Evan can’t disguise dark suspicions aroused when a ghostly presence repeatedly appears in the night’s mist and fog. Jane embarks on an intense search for answers and uncovers evidence that soon puts Evan’s innocence into question. She’s determined to discover what really happened that fateful night, but what will the truth cost her?

Book Club Fiction

The Law of the Heart by Boris Starling, Pages: 368, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: Their love is against the laws of a merciless state—but the heart has its own power.

For rollercoaster designer Theo, living on the edge is just part of the job. He’s used to wandering the world perfecting thrills, his heart immune to commitment. But then a commission in repressive North Korea exposes him to emotions he’s never dared to feel.

Tour guide Min has a soul that wants to soar, but she knows it’s safer to build walls around her heart and mind. Skilled in showcasing the mesmerising beauty of capital city Pyongyang without revealing its darker secrets, she introduces Theo to a country he will never forget—and begins to question her policy of quiet compliance.

But forgetting—or pretending to—is the key to survival for Min’s formidable grandmother Cuckoo. After a devastating heartbreak years ago, she learned that passion and oppression just don’t mix.

As Min and Theo grow closer and long-held secrets come to light, all three are forced to confront emotions they’ve tried to suppress. In a country where following their hearts will put them in danger, how much are they willing to risk?

Memoir

There’s a Hole in My Bucket by Royd Tolkien, Pages: 362, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: An inspirational, life-affirming memoir from the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Having grown up on their great-grandfather’s stories, Royd Tolkien and his brother, Mike, have always enjoyed adventures. So when Mike is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, also known as ALS, the brothers decide to use the time they have left to tick off as much as possible from Mike’s bucket list, from remote camping in Norway to travelling through Royd’s beloved New Zealand.

Yet, when Royd loses Mike, he discovers his brother had been writing another kind of bucket list: fifty things he wanted Royd to do after his death. His first task? Mike wants his mild-mannered brother to trip up on his way to the lectern to deliver his eulogy. What follows is a set of emotionally charged tests that will push Royd firmly out of his comfort zone.

This is the story of Royd’s journey to accomplish a challenging, humorous, and often heart breaking list of unknown tasks that chart the brothers’ lives from childhood to adulthood. But above all, it is a story of the sibling bond, of grief—and of treasuring every moment.

Thriller

The Receptionist by Kate Myles, Pages: 379, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: In this domestic thriller, sex, ambitions, and disaster burn more intensely than the Los Angeles sun.

Emily is a top talent agent who rules the land of talk shows and reality TV. Whip-smart and brutally practical, she outmanoeuvres all rivals…except in her personal life. Emily wilfully ignores her CEO husband Doug’s philandering in exchange for their glamorous one-percenter lifestyle, until a surprise pregnancy changes everything.

A TED-Talking business guru with a reckless streak, Doug embarks on an audacious relationship with Chloe, the stunning young receptionist at his market research firm. But Chloe has a secret: a volatile past she’s desperate to forget. Their chaotic entanglement sets off a chain of shocking scandals, plunging Emily into a scheming fight for survival.

As they each try to fight their way to the top, there’s only one question: How far will Emily go to protect her child and preserve her carefully curated life?

Psychological Thriller

A Familiar Sight by Brianna Labuskes, Pages: 367, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: A shocking murder carries echoes of the past for a psychologist in a startling novel of suspense by a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Psychologist and criminologist Dr. Gretchen White is a specialist in antisocial personality disorders and violent crimes. She’s helped solve enough prominent cases for detective Patrick Shaughnessy that her own history is often overlooked: Gretchen is an admitted sociopath once suspected of killing her aunt. Shaughnessy still thinks Gretchen got away with murder. It’s not going to happen again.

When a high-profile new case lands on Shaughnessy’s desk, it seems open and shut. Remorseless teenager Viola Kent is accused of killing her mother. Amid stories of childhood horrors and Viola’s cruel manipulations, the bad seed has already been found guilty by a rapt public. But Gretchen might be seeing something in Viola no one else does: herself.

If Viola is a scapegoat, then who really did it? And what are they hiding? To find the truth, Gretchen must enter a void that is not only dark and cold-blooded, but also frighteningly familiar.

Contemporary Fiction

For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino, Pages: 361, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: A sharp and hilariously relatable novel about the business of weddings, the toll they can take, and the lengths one exasperated bridesmaid will go to for the love of friends.

Lily Weiss is her mother’s worst nightmare: thirty-two and single—the horror! She’s also a talented writer but hides behind a boring job at a science foundation. To her friends, she’s reliable and selfless, which is how she winds up a bridesmaid in five weddings in six weeks. Anything for her three best friends and two (younger) siblings, right? Even if her own love life is…well, she’d rather not talk about it. To keep her sanity, Lily needs a safe place to vent.

And so her anonymous blog, Bridesmania, is born. The posts start pouring out of her: all the feels about mom-zillas, her vanishing bank balance, the wicked bridesmaids of the west, high-strung brides-to-be, body-shaming dress clerks, bachelorette parties, and Spanx for days, not to mention being deemed guardian of eighty-eight-year-old Granny (who enjoys morning mimosas in the nude) for her brother’s destination wedding.

So far the blog has stayed anonymous. But as everyone knows, few things online remain secret forever…

When all is said and done, can Lily help all five couples make it to happily ever after? And will her own happy ending be close behind?

Contemporary Romance

The Magic of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson, Pages: 362, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: From the bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners comes a feel-good story about becoming who you were meant to be all along.

Phronsie Linnelle was conceived at Woodstock in a serendipitous liaison between a free-spirited hippie and a farmer’s son and was born with magical wonder flickering in her DNA and rationality knit into her bones. All her life she’s been torn between the two. But now that she’s been betrayed by both love and the mother she once idolized, her rational side is winning.

So when her best friend from childhood proposes that they give up on romance and marry each other, Phronsie agrees. Who better to spend your life with than your best friend? Maybe the connection they already have is love. Maybe there’s no falling to be done. But immediately after they announce their engagement, she encounters someone who makes a very charming and compelling argument for revisiting romance.

While her even-keeled stepmother argues for the safety that comes with her new engagement and her mother relays messages from the universe to hold out for true love, Phronsie must look to her own heart to find the answers that have been there all along.

Young Adult

Brown Boy Nowhere by Sheeryl Lim, Page: 319, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: Welcome to Nowhere, kid. Life starts here.

What’s the problem? Sixteen-year-old Filipino American Angelo Rivera will tell you flat out. Life sucks. He’s been uprooted from his San Diego home to a boring landlocked town in the middle of nowhere. Behind him, ocean waves, his girlfriend, and the biggest skateboarding competition on the California coast. Ahead, flipping burgers at his parents’ new diner and, as the only Asian in his all-white school, being trolled as “brown boy” by small-minded, thick-necked jocks.

Resigned to being an outcast, Angelo isn’t alone. Kirsten, a crushable ex-cheerleader and graffiti artist, and Larry, a self-proclaimed invisible band geek, recognize a fellow outsider. Soon enough, Angelo finds himself the leader of their group of misfits. They may be low on the high school food chain, but they’re determined to hold their own.

Between shifts at the diner, dodging bullies, and wishing for home, Angelo discovers this might not be nowhere after all. Sharing it can turn it into somewhere in a heartbeat.

Children’s Picture Book

Turkey Goes to School by Wendi Silvano, Illustrated by Lee Harper. Pages: 40, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

Synopsis: Turkey is off to school—or is he?—in this addition to the much-loved Turkey Trouble series.

School is starting soon and Turkey can’t wait. Each day, he and his barnyard friends practice their writing and math. But when the school bus rolls up, they are booted off. It turns out that animals aren’t allowed to attend school. Pig calls it “hogwash,” and Turkey agrees. All he has to do is find a way to show the students and the principal that turkeys—and their friends—do belong in school. With a gobble, gobble here; a gobble, gobble there; and a few clever costumes, he just might.

Which Book Did You Choose?

I chose:

For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino, Pages: 361, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

I Pre-ordered:

The Magic of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson, Pages: 362, Publication Date: 1 August 2021

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