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Five-Star Fiction: A Special New Monthly Feature from Kindle Nation

Five-Star Fiction
A Special New Monthly Feature from Kindle Nation
Greetings from Kindle Nation! 
We’re been lucky enough, during the time we’ve been building and publishing Kindle Nation, to have been able to help a great many talented authors connect with thousands of you, our readers, the greatest readers in the world.

In our most recent Kindle Nation Citizen Survey, you made it clear that you value the role we play in helping you find great reads by undiscovered indie authors. But more and more great books by traditionally published authors are also finding their way into the Kindle Store, so we’re especially excited about our new partnership with novelist M.J. Rose — author of The ReincarnationistThe Memorist, and The Hypnotist — to curate and call your attention to some of the best 5-Star Fiction available each month for Kindle reading.

We’ve worked hard to make 5-Star Fiction an enjoyable way to check out a mix of interesting books each month, and we promise to close each month’s issue with a fun parting treat from an inexpensive reading suggestion to, in some future months, some giveaway specials! And we’ll always include a link to free contemporary Kindle titles at the end!

But we begin, here and now, with a February offering in which we break our own rules implicit in the title of this new Kindle Nation 5-Star Fiction feature:  while the first of our six selections is certainly one of the most distinctive narrative works of the second half of the 20th century, it is not, strictly speaking, a work of fiction.


 Roots: The Saga of an American Family (30th Anniversary Edition)
“Early in the spring of 1750, in the village of Juffure, four days upriver from
Alex Haley
the coast of The Gambia, West Africa, a manchild was born to Omoro and Binta Kinte.”
So begins ROOTS, one of the most important and influential books of our time, which has lost none of its emotional power and drama. And its message for today’s generation is even more vital and relevant than it was 30 years ago.
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage….Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning no matter what our attainments in life.”
-Alex Haley   

Roots: The Saga of an American Family (30th Anniversary Edition)
by Alex Haley
Vanguard (Perseus Books)
Kindle Edition


List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $8.98

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” … a classic of American ambition … ”

–A Note From Bestselling author Michael Eric Dyson:

Roots is unquestionably one of the nation’s seminal texts. It affected events far beyond its pages and was a literary North Star that guided us through the long midnight of slavery’s haunting presence. Roots is an exercise in the skillful telling of a people’s pilgrimage through the quagmire of lost racial links to the solid ground of recovered connections. For that reason alone, it is to be celebrated as a classic of American ambition and black striving. Each generation must make up its own mind about how it will navigate the treacherous waters of our nation’s racial sin. And each generation must overcome our social ills through greater knowledge and decisive action. Roots is a stirring reminder that we can achieve these goals only if we look history squarely in the face.
 Island Girl by Lynda Simmons

” … is Alzheimer’s a moral get-out-of-jail free card? …”
–A Note from Author Lynda Simmons

Lynda Simmons
Dear Reader,
My family has been dealing with Alzheimer’s for fifteen years and I am fascinated by the differences in the ways the generations approach this devastating illness. Those who endured the Depression and World War II tend to be fatalistic about the curves life throws at them, trusting their doctors and viewing Alzheimer’s as just one more cross to bear.
My generation, on the other hand, mistrusts authority, demanding control of everything that touches our lives and thumbing our noses at Alzheimer’s long goodbye.
In writing Island Girl, I wanted to explore not only what happens when one of these strong-willed individuals is diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s, I also wanted to ask the question: Do you have to forgive someone a lifetime of sins just because they’re sick? Does Alzheimer’s grant them instant immunity? A moral get-out-of-jail free card? Because as we all know, not everyone who is sick was a saint.

Island Girl
by Lynda Simmons
Kindle Edition ~ Release Date: 2010-12-07


List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price $9.99

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An Excerpt from the Novel
“Ruby, put the scissors down.”
I turned, saw Mark in the doorway. “I can’t,” I told him. “I have work to do.”
“No, you don’t. We’re going canoeing, remember?”
“I can’t go anywhere now. I have clients. Grace can’t handle this alone.” I looked around. “Where’s my notebook? I need my notebook.”
“I don’t know about the notebook,” Mark said. “But I do know that Grace is doing okay on her own.”
“Okay? Okay? Mark, look around. She’s made a mockery of everything.” I turned to the woman in the chair. “What’s your name?”
“Ruby, it’s me,” she said. “Joanne from Algonquin Island.”
“Of course you are.” I swung around to the other women on the couch. “The rest of you. . . I don’t know. I’ll figure something out. But right now, I need my goddamn notebook.”
Mark put his hands on my shoulders. “Ruby, give me the scissors.”
*     *     * 
“Simmons exhibits an exquisitely deft understanding of the extraordinary difficulties that unite a family, and her portrayals of the three women, told in alternating first-person chapters, enable satisfying connections with each.” Publisher’s Weekly
“…an engaging book about mental acuity as well as incapability,
emotional strength as well as frailty . . . a page-turner that will both
satisfy and enchant its readers.” Winnipeg Free Press
“Simmons wields her pen with grace and aplomb. . .a carefully drawn story
mixed with island history of the best sort.” A Worn Path
 The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
” … the spy who becomes the protector of a future queen …” 
–A Note from Author C.W. Gortner  
Dear Reader,
Everyone has a secret. And secrets can be deadly. Welcome to the dangers of THE TUDOR SECRET, where a squire to the powerful Dudley family becomes a d
C.W. Gortner
ouble agent to save Princess Elizabeth from a dark conspiracy- one in which the secret of his mysterious past may be revealed. Filled with the intrigue and suspense that make the Tudors one of history’s most fascinating royal dynasties, this thrilling novel brings their world to life from a new perspective, introducing the spy who becomes the protector of a future queen. This is Book I of The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.
C.W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret
by C. W. Gortner
St. Martin’s Griffin
Kindle Edition
Release Date: 2011-02-01


List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99

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An Excerpt from the Novel
To the hound’s blood-curdling bark, I stood and shifted through an opening in the hedge. I swiftly knelt, removed my cap. The moonlight sliced across my face. She went still. The dog snarled again. Cecil snapped his fingers. The guards were at me, swords scything in release. In a second, I was surrounded by blades. If I so much as moved a muscle, I would impale myself.
The dog strained at its chain, snout drawn back and fangs bared. She patted its sleek head. “Hush, Urian,” I heard her say. “Be still.” The hound sat on its haunches, its strange green-toned eyes fixed on me.
Cecil said, “I believe I know this youth, Your Grace. I assure you, he is quite harmless.”
One of her thin red-gold brows arched. “I don’t doubt it, seeing as he thought to hide from us in the yew, of all places. Who is he?”
“Robert Dudley’s squire.”
I glanced up in time to catch the quick look Cecil cast in my direction. I couldn’t tell whether he was displeased or amused.
The princess motioned. The guards shifted back. I stayed on one knee.
There are moments that define our existence, moments that, if we recognize them, become pivotal turning points in our life. Like pearls on a strand, the accumulation of such moments will in time become the essence of our life, providing solace when our end draws near.
For me, meeting Elizabeth Tudor was one of those moments.
*     *     * 
Gortner handles action with aplomb, adding a riveting, fast-paced thriller to the crowded genre of Tudor fiction. Publisher’s Weekly
Even Tudor fans who know the main players and historical backdrop will be captivated by Gortner’s storytelling and his engaging hero.  Romantic Times
The Collectibles by James J. Kaufman
” … we are all in need of help one way or another … ” 

–A Note from Author James J. Kaufman

Dear Reader,
James J. Kaufman
The core of The Collectibles is a way of approaching
life. For years, I have watched people collect and proudly display all kinds of things-watches, clocks, figurines, furniture, cars, dolls. My idea for The Collectibles was to suggest the same level of intensity could be employed to help one another. When their inherently good qualities are recognized, the characters in my story are not only enriched, but so are the lives of those who reach out to them. This is the investment we should be making. We are all in need of help in one way or another. It’s not about control or money; it’s about heart and reaching out.

The Collectibles

by James J. Kaufman
Downstream Publishing
Kindle Edition


List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $9.99

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An Excerpt from the Novel
Neither spoke for a few moments. Then Missy looked at Joe, and breaking the silence, asked, “Why me?”
“Why me, what?”
“I mean, why have you taken such an interest in me? I know you’re a good guy and that you believe in helping people, not just your clients, but others, too. I know you and Ashley supported the Domestic Violence Shelter. I remember all my conversations with you back then. You helped me a lot. Don’t get me wrong, Joe. I love you for it. The part that blows me away is that you’ve stayed in touch so long to make sure I’m all right and see what you can do to help. And the others, too. Why, Joe? How do we get to be the lucky ones?”
 *     *     *  
“The Collectibles is a poignant and thoughtful read, highly recommended.” Midwest Book Review
“For a debut novel, Mr. Kaufman has outdone himself. This book is nothing short of incredible and extremely heartwarming.” Night Owl Reviews
Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland
” … to capture the heart of … the rock star of kings … ” 
–A Note from Author Sandra Gulland
Sandra Gulland
Dear Reader,
Mistress of the Sun was 8 years in the making, but my passion for the story of Louise de la Vallière, mistress to the Sun King, began longbefore. Louise was unsophisticated, a tomboy from the lower nobility-an unlikely young woman to capture the heart of such a powerful, handsome and charismatic young man (the rock star of kings).
I was horse-crazy in those years, and Louise was an extraordiary horsewoman; she could out-ride the King! While researching her life, a friend told me the story of taming a horse nobody else could come near.
Shortly after, I bought a postcard of the painting “Head of a White Horse” (by Gericault), which I pinned on the wall above my computer. This, then, became Diablo, a wild horse nobody could come near. Nobody, of course, except Louise.
What does Diablo represent to her? A free spirit: her own free spirit.

Mistress of the Sun
by Sandra Gulland
Kindle Edition
Release Date: 2008-06-03


List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99

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 An Excerpt from the Novel
Petite succumbed in the first hot week of autumn. She no longer had the strength to say no, no longer the will to deny fate.  
            “Don’t let me go,” she begged as Louis embraced her. The linens had been newly washed and smelled of sunlight.    
            “I love you,” he whispered with stuttering helplessness. “I love you.”
            Passages from the Bible came to her, inexplicably and unbidden, as from a song that would not leave, the words not quite known: And the mountain was altogether in smoke, and the mount quaked greatly, and all was thunderings and lightnings, and the noise of trumpets, and Fear not, for the Lord is come to prove you.  
            Prove you.  
            “I love you,” she wept, for the pain, and for the pleasure, and for the very great sin she was committing. She was ruined now, truly-and yet made whole. She wept, for she had found her one true love, but he was the King, and forbidden to her.
*     *     *  
“Here’s a warning: Mistress of the Sun is dangerously seductive. It’s one of those books that will grab you and hold you captive till the last page is turned.” 
-Geeta Nadkarni, for the Calgary Herald
“Exquisite and fantastic detail . . . to be savored and enjoyed. Take your time with this one; you will not want it to end.” 
Romantic Reviews Today, Perfect 10 Rating
The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

” … remember when I let Daddy in the house and he tried to kill Mom … ?
–A Note from Author Randy Susan Meyers

Randy Susan Meyers
Dear Reader,
Why did I write The Murderer’s Daughters?
“Remember when I let Daddy in the house and he tried to kill Mom?”
My sister swears I was there, but I didn’t remember. As she fed me details, the scene rooted and became my memory also. I heard Daddy sweet-talk his way in. My mother’s screams echoed.
Years later I worked with violent men, men who punched, and broke bones; some murdered. When asked where their children had been, they swore the children slept.
Children don’t sleep through traumatic moments. Some freeze. Some bury the horror. Some become stuck re-creating the incident. I asked myself, what if? What if the neighbors hadn’t pounded upstairs? What if the police never came?
The Murderer’s Daughters is from my childhood shelf of worry, and my adult experience of working with men who killed.
Randy Susan Meyers

The Murderer’s Daughters

by Randy Susan Meyers
St. Martin’s Press
Kindle Edition
Release Date: 2010-01-19


List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99 

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