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

Amazon First Reads August 2021

I know I only just managed to decide which Amazon First Reads for July book I was going to download, and a day later its time to choose what book I want to download for August. Also this August we have a choice of ten books. I have no idea which book I’ll choose as a couple of books have caught my eye.

This months choices are:

Thriller

All Our Darkest Secrets by Martyn Ford, Pages: 395, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: He’d do anything to protect his wife. But what if that meant making the biggest mistake of all?

James Casper is one of the good guys. A DEA agent. A loyal husband. With his sights set on the man at the top of the city’s opioid crisis, James is about to make the biggest bust of his career.

Then his beloved wife Rosie does something terrible, and James must choose: report it—or help her. He knows how this works, and he tells himself he’s smart enough to get away with murder. But James’s worst enemy knows what they have done—and he won’t hesitate to use it to manipulate him.

James is dragged into a dark and dangerous world. As events spiral and loyalties are tested, he realizes there’s only one way out. And that is to be even more ruthless than the people he’s working for.

Whatever happens, no matter how far he falls, at least he’ll still have Rosie.

Won’t he?

Historical Fiction

What Passes as Love by Trisha R Thomas, Pages: 325, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: A young woman pays a devastating price for freedom in this heartrending and breathtaking novel of the nineteenth-century South.

1850. I was six years old the day Lewis Holt came to take me away.

Born into slavery, Dahlia never knew her mother—or what happened to her. When Dahlia’s father, the owner of Vesterville plantation, takes her to work in his home as a servant, she’s desperately lonely. Forced to leave behind her best friend, Bo, she lives in a world between black and white, belonging to neither.

Ten years later, Dahlia meets Timothy Ross, an Englishman in need of a wife. Reinventing herself as Lily Dove, Dahlia allows Timothy to believe she’s white, with no family to speak of, and agrees to marry him. She knows the danger of being found out. She also knows she’ll never have this chance at freedom again.

Ensconced in the Ross mansion, Dahlia soon finds herself held captive in a different way—as the dutiful wife of a young man who has set his sights on a political future. But when Bo arrives on the estate in shackles, Dahlia decides to risk everything to save his life. With suspicions of her true identity growing and a bounty hunter not far behind, Dahlia must act fast or pay a devastating price.

Historical Mystery

A Quiet Place to Kill by N R Daws, Pages: 383, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: In this tense thriller set on a WW2 airbase, a female pilot faces danger in the sky—and a murderer on the ground.

July 1940. As the Battle of Britain begins, the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary carry out the dangerous task of ferrying warplanes to RAF airbases. But for the ATA detachment sent to the base at Scotney, it’s not only in the skies that they’re a target—it seems a killer is stalking them on the ground…

On the day pilot Lizzie Hayes arrives in the quiet village, one of her new comrades is found murdered. One of the few women in Britain with a psychology PhD, Lizzie thinks she can use her skills to help identify the killer among the military staff and local villagers, but DI Jonathan Kember isn’t convinced. When a second pilot is murdered, Lizzie’s profile of the killer comes into sharper focus—attracting anonymous threats against her own life.

With Kember’s investigation stalling and events at the airbase becoming ever more sinister, Lizzie’s talents are given a chance. But can she and the still-sceptical Kember work together to find the killer before Lizzie becomes the next victim?

Contemporary Romance

The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi, Pages: 365, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: In this delightfully modern spin on Pride and Prejudice, love is a goal, marriage is a distant option, and self-discovery is a sure thing.

Welcome to Bennet House, the only all-women’s dorm at prestigious Longbourn University, home to three close friends who are about to have an eventful year. EJ is an ambitious Black engineering student. Her best friend, Jamie, is a newly out trans woman studying French and theatre. Tessa is a Filipina astronomy major with guy trouble. For them, Bennet House is more than a residence—it’s an oasis of feminism, femininity, and enlightenment. But as great as Longbourn is for academics, EJ knows it can be a wretched place to find love.

Yet the fall season is young and brimming with surprising possibilities. Jamie’s prospect is Lee Gregory, son of a Hollywood producer and a gentleman so charming he practically sparkles. That leaves EJ with Lee’s arrogant best friend, Will. For Jamie’s sake, EJ must put up with the disagreeable, distressingly handsome, not quite famous TV actor for as long as she can.

What of it? EJ has her eyes on a bigger prize, anyway: launching a spectacular engineering career in the “real world” she’s been hearing so much about. But what happens when all their lives become entwined in ways no one could have predicted—and EJ finds herself drawn to a man who’s not exactly a perfect fit for the future she has planned?

Suspense

These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall, Pages: 415, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: A dead woman’s cherished trinkets become pieces to a terrifying puzzle.

Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain—twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.

But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.

It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.

Contemporary Fiction

Life Un-scheduled by Kristin Rockaway, Pages: 316, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: A smart, modern novel about a woman trying to balance her career, her best friend, and falling in love without crashing and burning.

Nicole Palmieri is married to her job. As a user experience designer at Virtuality, an artificial intelligence company in Los Angeles, Nicole is at her desk from sunrise to sunset. She doesn’t have time for a social life (or a love life), but that’s perfectly fine with her. Until her best friend, Parisa Shahin, announces her engagement and asks Nicole to be her maid of honour.

That’s when Nicole decides to meticulously schedule out the next six months of her life—from her project due dates to her dress-fitting appointments to how many hours she plans to sleep each night. If she can stick to her schedule, she’ll balance everything fine. Of course, that’s a really big if. And after she crosses paths with emerging restaurateur Brandon Phelps, Nicole is feeling feelings she hasn’t felt in…well, ever. But scheduling time to fall in love might push even the most meticulous plans into pure chaos.

Women’s Fiction

Paper Doll Lina by Robyn Lucas, Pages: 365, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: One rip is all it takes to expose the devastating truth behind a seemingly perfect life.

Lina Henry is a wife and mother who likens herself to a pretty paper doll. She lives in a beautiful home in the Atlanta suburbs. Her husband, David, is a well-to-do investment banker. She’s raised two wonderful teenagers. To the outside world, the Henry family is perfect. What no one knows is that Lina’s paper doll life is being torn apart in a controlling and abusive marriage. When Lina develops an unexpected friendship with another man, and reconnects with her former best friend, she begins navigating a way out of the emotional minefield that is her home.

But as David senses his loss of control, he becomes more dangerous, and Lina must do everything in her power to protect herself and her children. In order to take back the happiness she deserves, Lina must first rediscover the strength and the fearlessness of her three-dimensional self.

Sci-Fi Thriller

Constance by Matthew Fitzsimmons, Pages: 352, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: A breakthrough in human cloning becomes one woman’s waking nightmare in a mind-bending thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Gibson Vaughn series.

In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. To anticloning militants, it’s an abomination against nature. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying.

After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness—stored for that inevitable transition—something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her?

The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died. To uncover the truth, Con is retracing the last days she can recall, crossing paths with a detective who’s just as curious. On the run, she needs someone she can trust. Because only one thing has become clear: Con is being marked for murder—all over again.

Memoir

Plenty by Hannah Howard, Pages: 255, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: A moving reflection on motherhood, friendship, and women making their mark on the world of food from the author of Feast.

Food writer Hannah Howard is at a pivotal moment in her life when she begins searching out her fellow food people—women who’ve carved a place for themselves in a punishing, male-dominated industry. Women whose journeys have inspired and informed Hannah’s own foodie quests. On trips that take her from Milan to Bordeaux to Oslo and then always back again to her home in New York City, Hannah spends time with these influential women, learning about the intimate paths that led them each toward fulfilling careers. Each chef, entrepreneur, barista, cheesemaker, barge captain, and culinary instructor expands our long-held beliefs about how the worldwide network of food professionals and enthusiasts works.

But amid her travels, Hannah finds herself on a heart-wrenching private path. Her plans to embark on motherhood bring her through devastating lows and unimaginable highs. Hannah grapples with personal joy, loss, and a lifelong obsession with food that is laced with insecurity and darker compulsions. Looking to her food heroes for solace, companionship, and inspiration, she discovers new ways to appreciate her body and nourish her life.

At its heart, this lovely and candid memoir explores food as a point of passion and connection and as a powerful way to create community, forge friendships, and make a family.

Biography

Divine Lola by Cristina Morato, Translator Andrea Rosenberg, Pages: 448, Publication Date: 1 September 2021

Synopsis: An enthralling biography about one of the most intriguing women of the Victorian age: the first self-invented international social celebrity.

Lola Montez was one of the most celebrated and notorious women of the nineteenth century. A raven-haired Andalusian who performed her scandalous “Spider Dance” in the greatest performance halls across Europe, she dazzled and beguiled all who met her with her astonishing beauty, sexuality, and shocking disregard for propriety. But Lola was an impostor, a self-invention. Born Eliza Gilbert, the beautiful Irish wild child escaped a stifling marriage and reimagined herself as Lola the Sevillian flamenco dancer and noblewoman, choosing a life of adventure, fame, sex, and scandal rather than submitting to the strictures of her era.

Lola cast her spell on the European aristocracy and the most famous intellectuals and artists of the time, including Alexandre Dumas, Franz Liszt, and George Sand, and became the obsession of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. She then set out for the New World, arriving in San Francisco at the height of the gold rush, where she lived like a pioneer and performed for rowdy miners before making her way to New York. There, her inevitable downfall was every bit as dramatic as her rise. Yet there was one final reinvention to come for the most defiant woman of the Victorian age—a woman known as a “savage beauty” who was idolized, romanticized, vilified, truly known by no one, and a century ahead of her time.

*** Which book will you choose? I’ll let you know in a few days which book I chose, but I have a feeling I may have to pre-order a book as well. ***

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