Prime members shouldn’t miss access to this FREE Amazon First Reads program. Learn about this Kindle reading program and get two free books this month.
Let’s choose our October Kindle First Reads selections together! This month we get access to TWO selections, and we have some wonderfully tried-and-true authors on the list (like a short story collection from Alice Hoffman) and some well-established Kindle book authors to choose from.
These books are available to you at no extra charge if you have Prime.
If you aren’t familiar with how this program works, head to this post that shares everything you wanted to know about the Amazon First Reads program (formerly the Kindle First program). This is my beginner’s guide to navigating these freebies.
Please note, when you add it to your cart it should display the purchase as captured above (BUY IT NOW FOR FREE). If it does not, you are not signed into your family’s Prime account.
If you have a moment, leave a comment and let me know what you picked or if you have read any of these!
This month, Amazon is offering TWO books for free with your Prime membership. Don’t miss this deal!
Here is what you need to know for this month and what I chose (if you need help making decisions). To help you find this info easier, I’ve included the blurbs, GoodReads ratings (so far), and any critical reviews that might help guide your decisions.
Amazon First Reads For October (Get 2 Free Books)
Killers hiding in plain sight. Small-town secrets. A girl who knows too much. From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline comes a nerve-twisting novel inspired by a shocking true crime.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.28 stars with 160 ratings.
One seasoned reader of her books stated that this was her favorite by the author so far.
Reviewers praised it as atmospheric, claustrophobic, and a great pick for fans of serial killer stories set in small towns.
She’s restoring the old family home on the hill. And unearthing something evil.
In the tourist town of Wharton, on the coast of Lake Superior, Tess Bell is renovating her old family home into a bed-and-breakfast during the icy dead of winter…
What evil has been locked away for so many years? The ominous brushstrokes, scratching at the door, and moving shadows begin to pull Tess further and further into the darkness in this blood-chilling novel of suspense by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Keepers of Metsan Valo.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.07 stars with 29 ratings.
Reviewers shared it is a solid pick for Halloween and called it a great atmospheric ghost story.
If you are looking for a book for spooky season, this looks like a great pick.
Perfect wives, imperfect lives, and upending the rules of behavior in 1960s America.
Law school graduate and newlywed Ruth Appelbaum is acclimating to life and marriage in a posh Philadelphia neighborhood. She’ll do almost anything to endear herself to her mother-in-law, who’s already signed up Ruth for etiquette lessons conducted by the impeccably accessorized tutor Lillian Diamond. But Ruth brings something fresh to the small circle of housewives—sharp wit, honesty, and an independent streak that won’t be compromised.
Right away Ruth develops a friendship with the shy Carrie Blum. When Carrie divulges a dark and disturbing secret lurking beneath her seemingly perfect life, Ruth invites Lillian and the Diamond Girls of the etiquette school to finally question the status quo.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.45 stars with 22 reviews.
Reviewers went into this one expecting a light-hearted story, but discovered it to be a challenging read.
Her editor shares this intriguing blurb, ” As the women of this powerful book continue to change and grow, they come together to save one of their own from hidden abuse. I hope you’ll feel as inspired as I did watching these women stretch beyond their comfort zones and challenge expectations for women in 1962, with some lessons for us even today.”
Can she trust the people she loves? Can she trust herself? A new mother is pushed to the edge in a provocative thriller by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Open House.
After the traumatic birth of her daughter at a New York City hospital, Rowan O’Sullivan returns home to her apartment with her perfect newborn, Lila. At her side are her husband, Gabe, and June, a part-time babysitter hired to help Rowan in any way she can.
But in this time of joy, Rowan can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right. She feels dread. She’s breaking.
Rowan’s growing instability leads her to accuse June of unspeakable things. And when June disappears just days later, Rowan becomes a suspect.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.24 stars with 21 ratings.
This selection is coming in with some rave reviews already and recommended for fans of The Push.
This domestic suspense novel is a Zibby’s Book Club pick for November and was featured in Publishers Weekly.
In the PW, they shared this review, “With this white-knuckle journey, Sise shows her mastery of suspense.”
VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED
From New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman comes a heartfelt short story about family, independence, and finding your place in the world.
Isabel Gibson has all but perfected the art of forgetting. She’s a New Yorker now, with nothing left to tie her to Brinkley’s Island, Maine. Her parents are gone, the family bookstore is all but bankrupt, and her sister, Sophie, will probably never speak to her again.
But when a mysterious letter arrives in her mailbox, Isabel feels herself drawn to the past. After years of fighting for her independence, she dreads the thought of going back to the island. What she finds there may forever alter her path—and change everything she thought she knew about her family, her home, and herself.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.39 stars with 274 reviews.
If you are looking for a sweet read for your book stack, this is the selection for you.
It’s no surprise that this is the book with the most feedback since Alice Hoffman is such a seasoned writer.
Reviewers have called this short story endearing, delightful, and sweet.
Her editor shares this charming observation on this story, “Alice Hoffman’s writing transported me as I read Isabel’s story, conjuring the dusty back room of the Once upon a Time Bookshop, the heirloom flowers that climb the walls of Red Rose Cottage, and the lupines that turn the whole island blue in summer. In my short visit to Brinkley’s Island, I found a second home.”
A house of haunted history and ill temper. Make yourself at home in this beguiling novel of love, magic, and danger by Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg.
Rhode Island, 1846. Estranged from his family, writer Merritt Fernsby is surprised when he inherits a remote estate in the Narragansett Bay. Though the property has been uninhabited for more than a century, Merritt is ready to call it home—until he realizes he has no choice. With its doors slamming shut and locking behind him, Whimbrel House is not about to let Merritt leave. Ever.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.56 stars with 48 reviews.
This author is a well-known fantasy writer that wrote The Paper Magician, The Fifth Doll, and The Will & The Wilds.
This book is already receiving some critical acclaim. Publishers Weekly shares, “Filled with delightful period details and artfully shaded characters, this whimsical, thoughtful look at magic and its price is the perfect read for a cold fall night.”
Reviewers are praising it as an enjoyable historical fiction fantasy read and say that Holmberg is one of the most versatile writers.
A laugh-out-loud spin on the realities, perks, opportunities, and inevitable courses of midlife.
Laurie Notaro has proved everyone wrong: she didn’t end up in rehab, prison, or cremated at a tender age. She just went gray. At past fifty, every hair’s root is a symbol of knowledge (she knows how to use a landline), experience (she rode in a car with no seat belts), and superpowers (a gray-haired lady can get away with anything).
Though navigating midlife is initially upsetting—the cracking noises coming from her new old body, receiving regular junk mail from mortuaries—Laurie accepts it. And then some. With unintentional abandon, she shoplifts a bag of russet potatoes. Heckles a rude driver from her beat-up Prius. And engages in epic trolling on Nextdoor.com. That, says Laurie, is the brilliance of growing older. With each passing day, you lose an equivalent amount of fear.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.45 stars with 33 ratings.
This has a starred review from Kirkus Reviews this month.
They described it as “Witty and full of sarcastic energy, the author fearlessly tackles what it means to get old…Unplugged, refreshingly off the hook, and consistently entertaining.”
Reviewers loved this writers hilarity on going gray, menopause, and settling into middle age. This looks like a winner if you need a laugh this month.
Ashley Brooks’s life isn’t working out as planned. After years of struggling to make it in Hollywood, she’s still waiting for her big break. When fate leads her to the doorstep of legendary casting director Louisa Lake George, Ashley thinks her luck is about to change: the prickly old pro knows about a role she’s perfect for. The aspiring actress never gets to thank her, though, because the day after the audition, Louisa is dead. The bigger shock—she left all her money to Ashley.
Louisa’s grown children arrive stunned and ready to fight. Her nephew tries to play peacemaker, while Ashley grapples with why Louisa would leave her fortune to a stranger—and whether she should keep it. But Ashley quickly discovers everyone, including the dead woman, is hiding something, and it’s a race to get to the truth before someone else winds up dead.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): Ratings: 4.50 stars with 44 ratings.
Readers shared that this is the kind of book you can read in a day with short chapters, multiple POVs, and a great ending.
One author review shares these details about the author, “Susan Walter is a master storyteller with an insider’s view of the film business, and her novel glints with danger and brilliant insight into the hopes and dreams of an aspiring actress. I read it in one sitting, guessing the whole way through, stunned by the conclusion.”
Pietro La Greca Sr. was an intimidating Napolitano con man dubbed “Mexico’s real-life Don Corleone.” He ran Mexico’s biggest money-laundering scheme during the worst economic period in the country’s history. His was a world of fast cars, mansions on the water, and VIP treatment at Las Vegas casinos. His exploitation of Mexico’s financial free fall made him a wealthy man. But while he was running his criminal empire, his son, Pietro Jr., a.k.a. Picho, was learning his father’s tricks—if only to bring the man down.
An epic tale of greed, high-finance scams, drug cartels, and brazen corruption by the rich and powerful on both sides of the border, Pesos is as personal as it is lavish and fantastical.
GodReads Rating (So Far): 3.80 stars with 5 ratings.
Reviewers praise this as mesmerizing, intriguing, and challenging. There is a lot of language in this one that has received some negative feedback for those that prefer cleaner dialogue.
Publishers Weekly shared this review, “La Greca proves a snappy raconteur of this turbulent tale. Fans of true crime and epic family sagas will not want to miss this one.”
June Merriweather is on the run—from her own life. Her brother is dead, her parents are liars, and her college major is a joke. Apart from her best friend, Matt, June is desperate for reinvention. And a one-way ticket out of Cincinnati to the Scottish Highlands is a good place to start.
With a backpack, an urn, and a secret, June begins again. She snags a job at a café and finds lodging at a quaint inn with a quirky cast of housemates. The only problem: the inn’s infuriatingly perceptive (and sexy) owner, Lennox. He’s suspicious of June. After all, no one comes to Scotland in the winter unless they’re running from something. From rocky start to sizzling temptation, June’s new world is exhilarating…and one detour away from disaster.
GoodReads Rating (So Far): Ratings: 4.08 stars with 40 ratings.
Readers called this a heartwarming page turner that you can read in a day.
Kirkus Reviews shares, “The real love story here is between the protagonist and her authentic life…A sincere story about navigating life and love.”
VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED
I’m so glad we get two selections this month!
Honestly, I can’t picture the Alice Hoffman not being available for free in the Prime catalog because that is where their original stories are living. I am taking a gamble and spending my credits on two other books.
I decided to grab Well Behaved Wives– the Stepford Wives scenarios sound intriguing especially after seeing Don’t Worry Darling (and loving it).
I also got The Break because of its comparisons to The Push and selection by Zibby’s Book Club. If it is good enough for that book club discussion, I feel like I need to give it a try!
SOUND OFF: Have you read any of this month’s selections? Tell me what you plan to pick this month!
READ BETTER THIS YEAR WITH THESE ARTICLES