Our picks from this month's Amazon First Reads selections

Al Woodworth on January 12, 2021
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Our picks from this month's Amazon First Reads selections

Every month, Amazon First Reads offers a collection of titles available a month early to readers. This January, you can select two new pre-release Kindle books or $1.99 or two free if you’re a Prime member.

This month's selections offer something for everyone: Want to read a historical novel of adventure and animals? Or a memoir about grief? Perhaps a thriller about a powerbroker and his wife? Or looking to get inside the head of a black ops specialist on the high seas?

Here are some of our favorites, but be sure to check out the complete Amazon First Reads list.


The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice

Claire Beaudry Chase is attacked in her home and barely gets out alive. When she recovers and begins to piece together the scene, she becomes convinced her husband—a powerful politician running for governor—is behind it. But she can’t just run to the police or her friends because everyone’s connected to her husband. And what about the murder of a woman and her kids on the same day as Claire’s attack? A fast-paced psychological thriller that Harlan Coben calls "dazzling."


Hadley and Grace by Suzanne Redfearn

For fans of Thelma and Louise, a story of two women on the run whose lives become inextricably linked as they flee the dangerous man that connects them. As Suzanne Redfearn’s editor writes, “the bestselling author of In an Instant delivers a heart-pounding yet uplifting novel sure to touch the hearts of readers around the world. So, buckle up and get ready for one wild journey of self-discovery and second chances.”


West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

Adventure, history, and love collide in Lynda Rutledge’s historical novel about a young man named Woodrow Wilson Nickel who escorted two giraffes from the shores of the Atlantic to the San Diego Zoo in 1938. Inspired by true events, West with Giraffes is “the kind of laugh, cry, tell-a-friend read that you long for,” says Rutledge’s editor.


Water Memory by Daniel Pyne

“Deceptively explosive,” raves Karin Slaughter; “I loved it,” says Barry Eisler. “This is Daniel Pyne at his very best,” boasts Michael Connelly. Black ops specialist Aubrey Sentro is trained to combat adversaries, but when pirates board the cargo ship she’s on and her concussion makes her lose her memory, it’s not her training she turns to for survival. It’s her children. As the publisher wrote “while her memories make her vulnerable, motherhood makes her dangerous.”


Widowish: A Memoir by Melissa Gould

A memoir of grief and finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places. As the editor of book wrote: “Melissa Gould’s heartbreaking memoir, Widowish, is a modern and brave account of what it’s like to be a widow at the young age of forty-three. It’s also about expectations that others have for those who are grieving. In the depths of her anguish, Melissa finds herself wondering, "When is it appropriate to laugh at a joke or even think about dating? Can I find other men attractive?”


The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai, translated by Lara Vergnaud

One of Tunisia’s most celebrated voices, Yaman Manai is “always looking for parallels between the natural world and the world people create for themselves,” according to his editor. In his latest novel, Manai uses the backdrop of the Arab Spring to tell the story of one farmer who discovers the bees in his village have been killed and his quest to discovery why.


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