5 Great Fiction Books
There are over 15 different genres of books you can select from when you sign up to Hidden Gems, from romance and erotica to self-help and spirituality. One segment we’re especially excited about being able to offer is what booksellers call “general fiction” – which is a very non-descriptive way to describe any and all books that defy easy classification. It’s what they used to call ‘literature’ until the invention of self-publishing helped us realize that all genres of books can produce great works of literature.
Today, we’re sharing five great fiction books – works of literature – that were offered for FREE to our ARC readers. These books were picked based on the feedback our readers gave them, making them stand out as the true Hidden Gems that they are – and we’re excited to share them with you.
Race to Marathon by Jay Greenwood
In 490BC, the Persian King Darius I set his sights on conquering Greece – but had no idea how deep and unbreakable the spirit of the Hellanic people was. One of the pivotal battles in the long Greco-Persian war was the Battle of Marathon, in which Miltiades, the Athenian general, scored the first notable victory against the Persians and turned the tide of history. In Race to Marathon, author Jay Greenwood tells the story of this conflict with vivid and engaging detail; leveraging his own military background and years spent writing for the legislature to weave historical fact with cultural context in a stunningly evocative way.
“A gripping story of the battle that saved Western civilization,” writes Scott in his review. “Based on carefully researched fact but enlivened with gods and heroes, Greenwood tells the fascinating story of the Greek victory at Marathon. The tale is told through the eyes of both historical figures such as Themistocles and and Darius the Great and common people caught up in the great conflict. The characters are mostly engaging though some are a little more than caricatures. The intrigue and politics leading up to the battle are particularly well drawn.”
“Actually deserves a 10 star rating!” Eddie, a Vine Voice, claims in his 5-star review. “Never has history come more alive than with this tremendous account of the pivotal battle that actually secured our own democracy. A bright light has now been shed on the battle for Marathon. Greeks vs Persians at a strip of beach where the two armies face off. It was a different time and it’s wonderfully captured in this story. Very well done!”
Wanders Far-An Unlikely Hero’s Journey by David Fitz-Gerald
Author David Fitz-Gerald is an Adirondack 46-er – one of the few who has conquered all 46 peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. That love of the wild forests of upstate New York and beyond comes across powerfully in this book – which tells the tale of a Native American boy born in those same forests, who embarks on a journey that goes far beyond the plains of the physical, and even the barriers of life and death.
“A wonderful Young Adult novel,” writes reviewer M Thomas in a review. “As a fellow Adirondacker and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for history, I was intrigued by the premise of this story, and it did not disappoint. The characters in general are sympathetically presented, and the plot is compelling. A great short novel for young adults.”
Gary Shorman gave the book 5-stars in his review, writing: “Wander into the past with this enjoyable read from David Fitz-Gerald. This book takes you back to the days of the earliest Americans and paints a picture of their life and adventures. David develops the character Wanders Far with his creative storytelling and charm. I found myself walking alongside Wanders Far as he traveled the wilderness and used his talents to become a leader of tribes. It was a fun journey for me and a great way to spend a few hours enjoying the life and times of a much earlier era. Add this book to your ‘fun read’ list!”
The King of the Sea by Nandan Gautam
The King of the Sea and The Divine Flaw are two albums created by author Nandan Gautam, featuring the skills of Grammy Award Winning Drummer Antonio Sanchez along with many other musicians. To accompany the music, Gautam has written this book – which is a tale within a tale featuring the author’s voice as he weaves the tale of his fictional character. Links to the albums are included in the book, and can be listened to for free.
Reviewer RaChelle Holmberg writes in her 5-star review: “This is a beautiful labor of love, and is very enjoyable – its not just to sit and read, it needs attention paid. I had a bit of a struggle pairing the music on my iphone with the stories on my kindle, but think I finally got it right. I highly recommend this experience, but keep in mind, not all at one time…. Im still ‘listening through’ and will be for a very long time. Its also not something that you read / listen to only once.”
“Enlightening,” writes Mika Alaskarov in a similar 5-star review. “Mystical, interesting, out of this world, transformative and ENLIGHTENING are among many epithets that could be used when describing this masterpiece by Nandan Gautam. This book is something you don’t come along every day, not even a month or a year…it is simply more than just a book, it is a dialogue with your soul transformed on to pages and made available in a book form so you, a reader, could read and enjoy it.”
Just Because We Can by Nicole Brooks
Author and environmentalist Nicole Brooks describes herself as “a tree-hugging, earth-loving, nature-nerd that spends a lot of time trying to write a way out of the dead black hole we, as humans, now find ourselves in.” To that end, her first book explores these themes as it follows the story of Dale – a young woman who goes to conduct environmental work in Thailand and falls in love with not just the significance of the work, but environmentalist itself. It’s a powerful and vivid tale told through an achingly human narrative.
“Excellent book about the struggles of one’s heart,” writes Sierra B in her review. “I enjoyed this book immensely, I love reading a great story that holds the readers attention but also points to what we as humans are doing wrong. The characters were all very likable, and anybody who has ever had problems and their family cannot understand the main characters fractured relationship with her parent. Overall you felt the characters struggles, you could understand her opinions. And probably the most catching part for me was feeling her love of the planet and hatred of what we are doing to it.”
Linnea gave the book 5-stars – writing: “I loved it, had me self reflecting, thought provoking, had some tears at moments…The book was read simultaneity with my unconscious thoughts that were put in there earlier this week….off to try some yoga! And give it a real good try! Great read, hope there’s more by this author!”
The Opium Lord’s Daughter by Robert Wang
Told from two perspectives – British and Chinese – this thrilling historical novel tells the tale of the harrowing journey of Lady Lee Su-Mei and her family as they try to navigate the Opium Wars that forever changed the face of the eastern hemisphere.
“A compelling historical novel about opium in Hong Kong,” writes James J. Salz in a 5-star review. “Tobert has a creative side to his brain that functions in a way I cannot comprehend. He researched the history of England’s role in supplying opium to the Chinese resulting naturally in addiction in exchange for tea and silk for England. He developed believable characters like the opium lords rebellious daughter, her brother and the Engishman who supplied the opium but fell in love with the daughter. This all took place in the 1800s and eventually led to war between the mighty British empire and the hopelessly overmatched Chinese. Thousands of Chinese were killed and Britain ruled Hong Kong for years. Although the story is fiction the historical facts were carefully researched. I read the book virtually nonstop in a day or so. I can visualize this book becoming a movie and I congratulate the author on creating this story which educates many of us about a period in history we are ignorant about.”
“This is a very interesting book and very factual,” writes Rich Vaughn in another 5-star review. “I was born and raised in Hong Kong then came to America in 1973 to further my education. It is still part of my soul and being. I found the authors research extremely good, the story of Hong Kong was spell binding and I cherished every moment. I look forward to Mr. Wang’s next book.”