I recently got an offer from Amazon that read… spend $45 on ebooks and get $30 back to spend on more ebooks. Obviously, that was a deal I couldn’t possibly refuse. So I put out some feelers on Twitter, and I got a lot of responses. A lot.
So how did I whittle the list down to my final choices… well I started at the beginning. Everything that was available on Kindle Unlimited (KU) was off the list because I already have a subscription to KU and I can read those books anytime. I did find lots of those to add to my reading list, and I’m still updating from it, but it’s a long list to get through.
The next thing I did was exclude everyone who isn’t following me on Twitter. You may not agree with that choice, but I’m going to prioritize the people who are on this journey with me.
I still had to reduce the number again, so the next cut went based on price. I’m gonna be real with ya’ll — some of your ebooks are just too damn expensive. In some cases the Kindle books were super close to the price for a paperback, which begs the question of why… but that’s for another discussion. So where did I set my price point? Well, I figured it was only fair that if I’m asking people to pay $4.99 for my 110,000 word first book, that I shouldn’t set a limit lower than what I’m asking people to pay. So that was the line, anything over $4.99 didn’t make the cut. Which is a real shame because there were some of those books that were really interesting.
In the end I walked away with 20 books out of this post, and lots of books I’ll consider for later and for KU reads. I’ll just do these alphabetically.
Boston, 1846. 18-year-old Mildred Parish, a barber’s daughter, practices practical witchcraft using locks of hair obtained from her father’s customers. She’s very selective about who knows her secret and the kinds of spells she casts. Only people she trusts can know and she must never cast a spell to harm another person.
One of her father’s clients is Theodore O’Brian, an Irish immigrant whose family is fortunate enough to be wealthy. Mildred is head-over-heels in love with him, but he’s destined to be with someone else. One day, a woman named Trinity Hartell comes knocking on Mildred’s door. She has a vendetta against an entire family and wants Mildred to cast a death spell on them. The family? The O’Brians, including Theodore. Mildred refuses, but Trinity is set on getting what she wants, one way or another.
Mildred now feels she must protect the O’Brian family and the man she loves, but she must also protect herself. How can she make sure Trinity is stopped without telling the entire city of Boston that she’s a witch?
Why I Chose It
I don’t usually read things set in the YA/NA range, but I found the premise interesting. I like the idea that it seems to have a more complex storyline involving romance, vengeance, and self-preservation. Plus, I always love things that go into the historical realm. Note: This one wouldn’t have made the cut at the $5.99 price point, but it had a reduced price when I saw it.
Twitter follower: @ARosePritchett1
Hotchkiss continued on. “Ed! You didn’t see it?” The use of his captain’s first name on deck attested to the first lieutenant’s growing apprehension and maddening confusion.
“See what, Isaac, my old friend?” Pierce recognized his comrade’s state of mind and did not correct his lapse of quarterdeck etiquette. Clearly, a more personal and comfortable approach was needed.
“The stars! The stars, Ed! We weren’t just looking up at them. We were amongst them. There was the sea, and then there wasn’t. And the stars were below us as well! And we were there, right among them, like we were the stars themselves, or the moon or…”
“I’m sure you saw what you’ve described. Unfortunately, I chanced not to see it, although I have had a strange feeling of timelessness.”
Is it possible to sail beyond the ocean’s edge to another world? In 1802 Royal Navy Lieutenant Edward Pierce is ashore on half pay because of the Peace of Amiens. He fortunately gains command of a vessel searching for a lost, legendary island. When the island is found, Pierce and his shipmates discover that it exists in an entirely different but similar world. Exploring the seas around Stone Island, HMS Island Expedition sails headlong into an arena of mistaken identities, violent naval battles, strange truces, dangerous liaisons, international intrigue, superstition, and ancient prophecies. Detained by that world’s equivalent of Great Britain, Pierce struggles to free his ship and crew. Despondent over giving up his ship and possibly never seeing his beloved Evangeline again, Pierce’s outlook brightens when he discovers new-found friends working to liberate him and his crew. With time he comes to understand the prophesied role he and his companions are to play in that other world.
Why I Chose It
I’ll straight up admit to being really curious how this author is going to work in some of the more Sci-Fi Fantasy aspects into the high seas tale. I’m always up for a great ship story (which are rare people… write more of them!) but this one has me curious because it seems to want to go beyond that as well.
Twitter follower: @stoneisland1803
Fifteen-year-old Kari is the oldest of ten children. When their father abandons them and their mother dies, Kari must care for them all. Overwhelmed, she flees to a nearby city.
Desperation and hunger drive Kari to the only work available—at a brothel run by Roza and Yolin, a cruel madam and her husband. There, Kari forges bonds with another woman and a young handyman. But friendship and fine dresses can’t veil the despair of her grim new life.
Knowing Yolin’s savagery toward runaways, Kari doesn’t dare escape—until an unexpected pregnancy compels her to try. She hides in the forest, where a mysterious magical force shields her from Yolin’s pursuit.
When she’s most vulnerable, Kari’s supernatural protection disappears. Yolin attacks, and she must fight for her life, her dignity, and her child.
But Roza and Yolin are ruthless manipulators. And all Kari’s furious strength may not be enough to defeat them.
Whether you’re new to the Sun-Blessed Trilogy or an existing fan, this prequel will captivate your imagination from the first page. Kari’s story is a breathtaking tale of unstoppable women and unforgettable magic.
Why I Chose It
This wasn’t the book that Carol originally linked on the post. But I scanned through her other books and decided I was more curious to see if I was interested in reading the trilogy, and this book says right away that it can be read before the trilogy. I thought it would be a good way to help me decide if I wanted to buy her series. I’ll be honest in saying that I’m not entirely sure what to expect here. It sounds like the story is going to involve a woman who works in a brothel, but it’s categorized in the teen section. We’ll see! But she had the book available as a freebie, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Twitter follower: @CBethAnderson
Standalone heated romance for over 40’s
Whomever said it was all downhill after 40 were most definitely wrong. For Maggie Lynch, divorced at 42, life was just taking her in a different direction. The only thing missing was a little romance, but she was in no rush.
Bumping into Jeremy Dawson at the supermarket of all places, was a huge surprise… and it changed everything. He’d been her first crush and her first heartbreak. Jeremy had asked her out in high school, but she’d been too shy and awkward to accept.
Now, 20-odd years later here he was again… and single. Luckily, so was Maggie. However, now she’s older and wiser and no longer afraid to go after what she wants.
Jeremy is about to be blindsided by the older and more confident Maggie Lynch.
Why I Chose It
As someone who is closer to the age of the characters in this book, I definitely have a preference for reading about somewhat older characters. I’ve always found the whole ‘second chance’ romance concept seems a bit more real than a lot of the romantic tropes.
Twitter follower: @JFHollandAuthor
Dive into this hot and sexy short tale of Selina and Adrian, of whom meet under interesting circumstances indeed.
Banished from a very traditional town and left outside the vampire’s castle, Selina expects to be butchered by Adrian. Little does she know that he has many gifts to bestow upon her, including extremely rough and enjoyable sex.
Enjoy this bloody delicious tale that will be sure to have you begging for more just like Selina.
Why I Chose It
Come on, really? Do you know me? 😉
I’m a huge fan of Vampires and the sexier the better. I’m always up for something interesting and new in this kind of story, and a little short-story vampy erotica is a great bit of light reading for me.
Twitter follower: @TheRealRubyFox1
When Gabrielle finds herself in a haunted town her chances of survival are questionable.
When Rick, the town deputy, promises to keep Gabrielle safe, he never suspected he’d need to deal with his own ghosts too.
Their week together is passionate and dangerous, but like a ghost, will their romance vanish once the mystery is solved?
From a review: “It was meant to be a girls’ holiday. A non-stop enjoyment-packed vacation. Unfortunately, the car had other plans. Broken down in the middle of nowhere seemed like the start of a horror movie, and in some respects their instincts were right. While Gabrielle and her friends attract the attention of the locals, something else is also watching them; a ghost. A young boy seems to appear everywhere, but it is only when Gabby learns of the local legend that she begins to fear for her life. Fortunately, she is not alone. She and the girls have made some new friends. But can her new love interest, Rick, keep her safe, or will the ghost once more claim another victim?”
Why I Chose It
I’ll be honest and say that I almost didn’t. The blurb is a little too vague, but once I read the reviews I felt like I got a clearer picture of the story concept and decided to jump in to what seems like it’s mostly a small town romance story with a secondary ghost aspect.
Twitter follower: @GPGadbois1
A thin crack is all it takes for wickedness to coil into our world. Winding through the delicate minds of innocents and the twisted desires of killers, it preys upon the crippled pieces of our souls.
From a train bound for Hell, to the greedy cravings of a murderous unicorn, Crooked Souls is a collection of sixteen original horror stories about broken people and the unearthly encounters disturbing their lives.
If you like horror that builds steadily to twist endings, you’ll love Crooked Souls.
Why I Chose It
So I’m a big horror weenie, and here I am getting a book on scary stories. I don’t know, maybe it’s the Halloween bug or maybe it’s because I see Jacob around on Twitter all the time and will torment him if I have too many nightmares 😉
One of the reviews mentioned unicorns and I thought… horror and unicorns sounds like something different. Still, I wasn’t sure. So I opened the look inside and read the first story… and I loved it. So here I go, getting something that’s probably going to give me nightmares.
Twitter follower: @JacobKlop
Life at St. Agatha’s School for Girls is anything but a fairytale. With ratty blankets and a torturous device called the box, it’s not hard to understand Eliza’s desperation to escape. When the timing is right, Eliza manages to run away with her best friend Millie, heading through the Louisiana swamps to the town on the other side. But the swamps may be even more dangerous than the orphanage.
Silver and black fairies invite the girls to experience a world where they can have it all, but Eliza doesn’t trust the sparkling beauty. When Millie suddenly becomes violent and attacks another girl, Eliza knows something awful is about to happen. She will do anything to protect Millie but once Eliza remembers her own terrible secret, it is impossible to forget. The fairies’ songs call to Eliza and its getting harder and harder to pretend it’s all in her head.
Why I Chose It
This is an odd pick for me since I don’t usually like YA or horror, but something about it appeals.
Maybe it’s because it include fairies? I don’t know exactly, I wish I could articulate better what caused me to go with this one.
Twitter follower: @caytlyn_brooke
Tired of her boring life, one day she is magically transferred to the past. There she chooses to replace a dead princess, determined to live in that time.
But there was only one reason for her time-travel; she had to break a curse that haunted the royal family for many generations.
Will she be able to save her loved one and survive fate’s game?
Why I Chose It
I decided to pick up this short story because I felt like a short time-travel romance would be a nice in-between read.
I’m always impressed when people can come up with a fully developed story in so few pages, and with good reviews I’m looking forward to giving this one a shot.
Twitter follower: @DKemeridou
In a dull and misty English town, an ordinary girl lives her trying life.
But alongside her boring world another world lingers.
The world of angels: with Heaven and Hell, with cities, suspended high in the skies and cities, hidden deep beneath the surface, with creatures, harvesting humans… and prophecy of assassinated archangel one day reborn within a human.
Why I Chose It
I like the concept here. It sounds like the author is going to attempt to make some serious Heaven/Hell contrasts in this world.
The idea that there are creatures who harvest humans and cities in the sky are interesting starting points to reveal in the blurb, which makes me think… what else is there if that’s what we get to know right away?
Twitter follower: @olgagibbsauthor
A woman who doesn’t want to fall in love. An Immortal centuries away who needs his soul mate to survive. A passion stronger than time.
Attractive down-to-earth Jillian Murray travels to Scotland after her Gram, the last of her bloodline, passes away. Locking up her emotions from her troubled childhood, Jillian takes a leap of faith and plunges into 15th century Scotland. When she lays eyes on the dark, handsome, and completely frustrating Immortal, Merrick Ambrose, she can’t help but to notice the charged atmosphere between them and a growing attraction.
Jillian delves deeper into the dangerous times finding murder, betrayal, and the all powerful Guardians, Merrick’s creators, who will do anything to keep him from finding his soul mate. As Jillian crosses Merrick’s path more and more, she begins to accept the fact she might not return home, she also realizes her heart might not want to.
Can Jillian open her heart up to love, or will she leave Merrick and all they have between them in the past…
Why I Chose It
Time travel, immortals, Scotland, and a woman who isn’t desperate to fall in love. How many of my boxes can this tick off?
I definitely like the idea, and it’s part of a series so I can always feed my need if I get hooked.
Twitter follower: @alexismcneil
Egypt, 8000 years ago. The gods walk among men as titans, powerful beings with passions that move mountains, fix stars in the heavens, and master the forces of life and death.
Within this world, the evil god Set betrays and murders his brother Osiris, king of rich and respected Abydos. Set steals all that Osiris had, including the queen, Isis, the goddess of life and beauty. Isis escapes her monstrous conqueror and bends her powers toward finding her love and bringing him back from death. But, like all gods, Isis is trapped despite her power, for she can never go beyond the limits of her nature. For that, she needs the assistance of man.
In the course of this quest, kingdoms fall, armies clash, and the balance of power between gods and men is altered forever. Who holds power in such cataclysmic conflict? Is it those who define power, or those who define themselves?
Why I Chose It
Well, to start, I write mythic fiction and Egyptian myths are always on my consumption menu. I’m curious to see where this is going go and what angle on the mythology it will take.
Twitter follower: @StephanLoy
Welcome to Lake County, a group of small towns near Gary, Indiana, where the macabre and unusual collide with contemporary life and throw ordinary men and women out of their comfort zones and into the unthinkable.
In these twelve stories, a ghostly presence leaps off a satellite image on the Internet and terrorizes the real world, a drug allows its users to interact with the dead, a popular energy drink turns consumers into religious zealots, and a couple discovers a window in their bathroom where the sun always shines, even if it’s midnight.
These and other disturbing tales await you in Lake County Incidents, a collection of weird fiction steeped in the traditions of the classic pulps, set against the backdrop of the crumbling industrial landscape of rural America.
Why I Chose It
The cover sucked me in, and after reading the blurb and hearing some of the short short concepts I decided to give it a shot.
It does seem like it might be a bit scarier than the other stuff on my list, but hopefully it won’t be too much to handle.
Twitter follower: @AlecCizak
Bridges traverse worlds.
Army Captain and surgeon, Finn O’Grady, returns from a field training exercise exhausted and defeated; two soldiers were injured in an accident and one didn’t make it home.
Quilt artist, Lee-Lee Song, storms out of a date with yet another good Asian boy her parents have set up with only to run smack into Finn.
Their worlds—which could not be further apart—collide on a street corner in downtown Portland, and neither is in a hurry to return to their own realities. Finn craves the distraction of Lee-Lee’s creative and colorful world. Lee-Lee wants a man who is one hundred eighty degrees away from her parents’ choices.
As Lee-lee and Finn venture together across the many bridges of Portland and share their favorite places around the city, they grow more attracted and closer.
Will this special day together force Lee-Lee and Finn back into their own worlds, or will they build one more bridge in Portland—one to each other?
Why I Chose It
I decided that a culture clash romance could work very well for my current mood. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for conflict in how different the backgrounds are between people, and sometimes that can work and sometimes it can make it really hard.
Twitter follower: @AngeliqueJots
Peri Winger was quite content as a single woman, occasionally having fun at area swinger parties. Then she meets Lila, who introduces her to the Free Spirit Connection – a new religious movement with a radically positive view of sexuality – and the charming Andrew who would join them in an open triad.
Peri finds ecstasy as she communes with others in this spiritual community, and in time becomes a leader and defender of the faith. But they also face scrutiny from more puritanical elements in their city, who do not approve of how fast the Connection is growing.
And when Peri and her friends discover a dark secret, it could lead to all-out holy war!
Why I Chose It
Partly because I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but mostly because I didn’t want to jump into the series at a later book. Some of the other stories by the author actually appeal more, but this is book 1 so I wanted to start there.
I’m kind of getting some sex-cult vibes from the blurb, but we’ll see how it goes.
Twitter follower: @RikkiDeLaVega
When kind-hearted Lacey rescues Eric’s runaway dog, will the confirmed bachelor run away from love?
Leaving behind her big city job to live a quiet life in the country, Lacey Hanson witnesses a car crash and rescues the frightened dog running from the scene. When the sexy owner from the city is released from the hospital with a broken ankle, she invites him and his dog to recuperate at her house.
Eric tries to behave himself while hobbling around Lacey’s house in his cast, until one hot, unforgettable night with Lacey on her ugly couch. Eric bolts the next day, leaving Lacey broken-hearted. Will anything bring the good Samaritan and the bachelor back together again?
Why I Chose It
I kind of found the reverse hero concept a bit interesting here. I think it seems like a good contemporary romance, and I’d like to see what had him so spooked that he took off the next morning.
Twitter follower: @AliceKayAuthor
Taken by Greek Gods: Hermes loves Dionysus by Aimée Maroux
Asgard may be cold, but Hermes and Dionysos get pretty hot in this erotic fantasy.
Dionysos would like nothing more than to fuck the hunky Norsemen on their visit to Asgard, but Hermes tells him he can’t act on his desires because they would think of the Olympians as unmanly. Hermes has to promise to make it up to him, though…
This story features: sweet, consensual sex – MM. This is an erotic short story based on Greek mythology. The story contains explicit scenes of a sexual nature and is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Why I Chose It
This is from a fellow mythic writer, and I’ve read some of Aimee’s erotic writing before and I like the style.
I tend to keep some of these kind of stories out of the slightly more mainstream books that I write, which makes them all the more interesting to read when someone is incorporating them into an audience that can appreciate them.
Twitter follower: @AimeeMaroux
Tirith’s life is turned upside-down when Drake, her twin brother, abandons her after they were raised and trained in isolation.
Unable to live under the perceived tyranny of their grandfather, Drake sets off into the world looking forward to an adventure. Arriving in the dystopian city of Náströnd, Drake finds a new mentor and becomes involved in a bloody coup to eliminate the city’s ruling class.
Amid plots and counter-plots, conflict and betrayal a determined but uncertain young woman undertakes a treacherous journey to meet her father for the first time, overcomes racial bias in a foreign land, and learns the truth about her family’s sinister past. What she discovers leaves her with no choice but to find her brother and attempt to save him from the violent life he has chosen.
But does he want to be saved?
THE WOLF WE FEED, a coming-of-age story about two siblings that face hard truths about where their loyalties lie.
Why I Chose It
The book story seemed to include some elements that I look for in stories with mythology influences, but I really couldn’t decide on this one until I read the look inside.
I thought the first scene was interesting, and I appreciated the writing style. I liked the way there was a fun aspect integrated into the way the kids were being obviously trained for/against something far more sinister. The boy I found immediately obnoxious, but I’m pretty certain I’m supposed to, given the concerns the grandfather has. Either way, I look forward to seeing what happens to separate the twins.
Twitter follower: @writingnomad999
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
Four university buddies go out to the Lewis family cabin near Tahoe for a few days of outdoor sports and hard partying. The stay has a horrible end, however, when three of the young men are found brutally murdered while the last one of the party has gone missing, presumed to be responsible for the killings.
Their best friend may be the prime suspect, but was he really responsible for the murders as evidence points to something far more sinister, something more beast than man?
Fueled by concern over the welfare of their best friend and tormented by all the unanswered questions, Bonnie and Eric decide to take a late-night drive to the cabin and take a look at the scene of the crime for themselves. The plan is simple: a quick look around and a return home before morning classes start.
But they have no idea of what savage secrets wait for them in the woods.
Why I Chose It
Because after reading the blurb I was thinking in the mindset that this would be a sort of serial killer story, wrongfully accused, etc… and then I noticed what categories it’s in. Supernatural and shifters?
After that I decided I definitely needed to read it because I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Twitter follower: @smsevon
She has been a thorn in his side for 7 years…now she might be lost to him forever…he will risk everything to get her back…but will it be too late?
When Mikhale Savage rescues a young human woman and, defying his brother the Alaskan Alpha, brings her to his home in Raven Falls, he gets much more than he bargains for. Thoryn Michaels is no ordinary woman. The prodigy of an unlikely union between a human and a Therion werewolf, Thoryn is what Mikhale’s people call sielos draugus – soulmate of a werewolf! To Mikhale, however, she is a thorn in his side. Destined to be the Alphamate to his brother because of her sielos draugus bloodline, Thoryn is completely off limits to Mikhale…and yet she torments him, offering herself to him at every turn and even going so far as to sabotage his relations with other women! He is a man who is being pushed to the very edge of his sanity; only his loyalty and love for his brother, the Alpha, keeps his raging need for the woman in check and he longs for the day when will truly be unavailable for him—if only his brother would hurry and make it so!
Thoryn has no intention of becoming Alphamate—to Mikhale’s brother, or any other Alpha. Mikhale is the only man she desires. The only man she loves. But how far will she go to tempt him? She has used all her limited experience and womanly wiles to lure him in, all to no avail—the man is beyond stubborn! So when a handsome newcomer arrives in the clan’s territory, Thoryn decides to turn her attention elsewhere. Maybe that will gain Mikhale’s notice. Her plan backfires, however, when the newcomer turns out to have a devious plan of his own. He has heard about the sielos draugus in the Alaskan territory and knows that she is unmated…which makes her ripe for the picking. He has plans, you see, he longs for the days when his kind were worshipped by humans as gods and wishes to regain that status as the apex predators they are. But to do that he will need to be a strong Alpha, and he will need a strong bloodline…and the fastest way to both will be to take a sielos draugus as a mate, albeit against her will!
When Mikhale finds out that Thoryn has been taken he is beside himself with anger, guilt, and grief. In a race against time he tracks where her kidnapper has taken her, confronting her captor and, in a bloody battle with a deadly outcome, must fight to win back the only woman he has ever loved.
Why I Chose It
I like the complexity of the story mythos the author is creating here along with the romance. There’s this whole bloodline thing that’s trying to get in the way of their feelings for each other, and it looks like another character will come into the mix who also wants to separate them.
Twitter follower: @DianeZhivago
On Reading, Reviews, and the Others
As I said, there were many other books that were really interesting that I wasn’t able to get. Unfortunately I had to set some criteria to work with, but hopefully in the future those books will end up in my reading stack.
Just fair warning to anyone on this list, give me time to read. This Amazon offer wasn’t expected, so I already have things in my to read list that I have to get through first. I may dip into these now to shake up my other list, but I will try to make it through those first.
I will tag you on Twitter when I write up a review. Just an FYI – I don’t review at all if I can’t give it at least 3 stars. If I do review, I’ll review on both Goodreads and Amazon, as well as the blog here.
Thanks again for all the book suggestions!