I’m gradually reading the books that went through Kindle Scout and won Kindle Press contracts since the program’s inception at the end of 2014. All these authors are prolific, some of them award winning, some of them best sellers, each of them offering solid hours of reading pleasure to those of us who enjoy Mysteries, Thrillers, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance. Most recently added genres include Literature and Fiction, which I interpret to mean Literary and Commercial/General Fiction. So there’s something for everyone at the cost of an ice cream or a train ride. Each book has dozens of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so this is just a taste.
Alan Leverone’s THE OMEGA CONNECTION
Superb pacing makes this an electrifying read that’s engaging on multiple levels: the characters, technical acuity, dialogue, plot, and…I could go on. Leverone’s handling of timing and suspense is masterful. Astutely drawn detail brings people and events into vivid focus. Even the car, a 1960 something Chevrolet Impala, has a personality, and when it took a punishing, I’ll admit that a little piece of my heart broke. Tracie Tanner is smart and self-assured, exactly the kind of person you can trust to have your back in a shootout; she’s also kind and irreverent and easy to care about. I found the subject matter intriguing from an historical perspective, as the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in 1961 is central to the plot. But no spoilers here—you’ll have to read this novel if you like staying up late and sneaking illicit time to read. I’m grateful that Kindle Scout is showcasing thrillers of this caliber. This one is seriously good.
Fiona Quin’s WEAKEST LYNX
Lexi Sobado is a multi-faceted, irresistible protagonist, eminently worthy of a series in her name. Her unconventional upbringing makes her a formidable opponent, trained in kung fu and accomplished at skills taught her from the age of 13 by Spyder McGraw, an operative from the mysterious Iniquus group. Educated in the finer points of cooking and languages by the Kitchen Grandmothers (one of my favorite discoveries in the novel), Lexi, at 20, has all the smarts she needs to trounce the man who’s stalking her, quoting macabre poetry and casting sinister shadows on everything she does. Add to the mix two Dobermans who have her back and an organization few are tough enough to mess with, only someone very dangerous and very bad would take her on. And take her on the sadistic stalker does, with grisly results. When the Iniquus team moves Lexi to a safe house, her skills—physical, emotional, intellectual, and metaphysical–are tested to their limits as she grows close to the man whose job it is to protect her. Fiona Quinn and Lexi promise to blaze a trail across the thriller landscape with gleaming moments of storytelling, not to mention a bathroom scene that guarantees you’ll never look at a balloon the same way again.
Alice Gaines’s CAPTAIN AND COUNTESS
Jane Austen haunts the pages of this regency romance, and she does so with a vigorous nod of approval. I’m difficult to please when it comes to historical fiction because it’s so tough to capture use of language and tone without sounding contrived, but Ms. Gaines’s prose is an effortless read, beautifully paced, and brimming with evocative detail of period and place. The novel departs from conventional offerings in this genre with characters that are fresh, multi-faceted, and richly layered. Bess is smart, generous, and irresistible; Jason, whose idiotic choices are central to the novel’s drama, both seduces and infuriates the reader; and the tension and heat generated between the two protagonists is palpable. Witty dialogue and repartee and a cast of secondary characters add vibrant texture to the story. It makes perfect sense that Alice Gaines is an award-winning novelist–she writes well and shows an astute, timeless understanding of human nature.
Amy Jarecki’s A HIGHLAND KNIGHT’S DESIRE
I settled in with Amy Jarecki’s novel, hoping to escape to a far off time and place that’s always beckoned: the Scottish Highlands. And escape I did, for hours late at night, so immersed in the story of Duncan and Meg that I finished the book and immediately wanted to reach for the next in the collection. I got to indulge the romantic in me through vivid prose that brought Scotland and its knights to life, with gripping action sequences and meticulous attention to historical detail. The love scenes live up to the blossoming heat between the two protagonists and made me wonder how soon I could book a flight for Edinburgh.
Sariah Wilson’s ROYAL DATE
This is a perfect Y/A romance for readers who long to escape into a light, contemporary story with the glitter of a fairy tale. Kat guards the secrets of her childhood and mother’s addiction by refusing to let anyone get close enough to hurt her, especially Nico, crown prince of a small, beautiful country in the heart of Europe. Kat has a neat outline for her life that doesn’t include dating, let alone love, but when Nico sees beyond her curt disinterest to get under her skin, he turns much more than a few weeks’ vacation upside down. For those of us who dreamed of being a princess but never felt like much of one, this is a feel good read. I was happy to get lost in the landscape, luxury and chaste blossoming of unlikely love that took me back to a time when all dreams seemed possible.
Anyone reading along with me? I’d love to hear from you.