July Reads

Reviews Published

July is my favorite month of the year as it brings me to the beach house and relaxation. It is my time to destress, relax and catch up on my reading. It is the month in which I can read a book a day and that makes me so happy. My to read pile has gone down significantly this month and boy did I find some great reads for you all!  Some of these books are prerelease, but the nice thing about Amazon is when you order a prerelease you are not charged until it ships.
I always order them ahead because I know I’ll likely forget.

Between Lost and Found

This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoyed the story and found myself looking forward to returning to it. In this book we meet Janelle, an insecure city girl who is engaged to what she thinks is her dream man. From the first page, I didn’t like his arrogance and forget about the mother in law.

Janelle’s grandfather knows this is not the right man for her to marry so he devises a plan to lure her home. He has his girlfriend call to tell her he has gone missing and she must come home. Unfortunately what was meant to be a lure turns out to be the truth as Little Bill goes missing. I just loved the characters in this book and we got to know most of them. This book is about returning home and learning to love yourself. Janelle, Sam, Connie, Yvette and of course Little Bill are wonderful characters who come together to tell a story of finding and loving yourself. I hate comparing authors, but if you like Terry McMillan’s books you will like this.

Girl in Snow: A Novel

This debut novel has just been released. Thought this was a novel of suspense and who done it, its strength lay in character development. The book opens with a dead teenager, Lucinda who is found murdered on the school playground. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of three characters who knew Lucinda and were being interviewed by the police each added a different perspective to the possible motives.

Cameron is a boy who loved Lucinda and was totally obsessed with her. He thinks he may have murdered her as he knows he was there watching her that night. He has some holes in his memory and is worried he may be the murdered. Jade a classmate who hated Lucinda because she stole her boyfriend and Russ, the copy assigned to investigate the murder. Each of these characters are the story and the author really develops them well. I was very surprised by the ending and totally did not guess ahead. My only wish was that she developed Lucinda as well as the other characters. It would have added some depth to the story.

The Visitors

Another debut novel that offers a creepy read. This is not a thriller, or a page turner. It’s a slow read, especially in the beginning, but stick with it as it all comes together to tell a great story of what we choose to overlook and why. This book is about Marion, a middle aged single woman, who lives with her brother. The book dives deeply into Marion’s psyche, including her childhood. It’s a tale of the damage life can do to someone and the lasting affects of that damage. Marion’s brother has been damaged too in a totally different way. What unravels in this book was disturbing and creepy and kept me turning the pages. Yes, I’d like a bit more twists and turns, but just the thought of it all was creepy enough for this one to be a worthy read.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

I absolutely adored this little gem of a story. It may be because my dad is going through a similar time, but this quirky tale just touched my heart. Arthur (Truluv) is an 82 year old widower who sits at his wife’s grave every single day without fail. Maddy is a 17 year old high school student who is bullied and a loner. Her mom dies when she was young and her dad raised her but she hasn’t been loved. They meet at the cemetery, where Lucille loves to hang out alone. We also meet Lucille, Arthur’s neighbor who is quite the character.

These three come together to tell a tale of life, love and finding your tribe. A sweet tale that is worthy of your time. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Seeking Sarah: A Novel

Brooke discovers her mother,long thought dead, is very much alive. When her father dies this secret comes to life and Brooke finds herself searching for her mother. She went at first to find out why she was told her mother was dead, but upon seeing that her mother has a new family and life finds herself full of anger. She sets out on a path to destroy her mother. An emotional, fast paced read that will be devoured in one sitting.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel

I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan, but not a fan of magic books. I haven’t read Practical Magic and when I first started this book wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. But, afterall if was written by Ms. Hoffman who pulls me in every single time with her talent. She did not disappoint with this one either. I found myself unable to put the book down and read it in one day. Thankfully I’m down at the beach and was able to park in a chair for the day.

The Owens sisters and brother Vincent are enchanting and their story will linger with me for a bit as the characters in Hoffman’s books generally do. Their tale is quite sad and the curse put upon the family really led to much heartache and worry. Franny, Jet and Vincent leave me wanting more and I will now have to order Practical Magic to continue this saga.

I am not a fan of fantasy or magical tales, but this one is a winner.

Lies She Told

I read this book in one day on my beach vacation. When 3:00 came I was still sitting in my chair. My daughter asked if I was OK as I usually leave then to go up to the house and cook. I had to finish the book and literally sat there until I did. Liza was quite the interesting character and the story was quite unique. Told in alternating chapters, not unusual, but this one was one fictitious story and one the main story. As the plot progresses, they stories begin to blur and merge. There was a nice twist at the end as well to keep it interesting. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book you can’t put down until you finish.

Emma in the Night: A Novel

This was a one day read for me on my beach vacation. I don’t think I moved all day. I was fascinated by the narcissistic personality disorder and it’s impact on the children. Wow. The book was for me a deeper read, which means though I read in one sitting I didn’t skim over any parts. I found it all gripping. What a dysfunctional family. The book says it has an unreliable narrator and I get why they say it, but I didn’t find Cass to be unreliable. I really felt her as she told her story. A twist at the end yes, but overall not a shock considering the story. I don’t want to say to much about the plot because it’s worth your reading for yourself. This is a must read and will likely be a best seller when released. GREAT read. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to preview the manuscript.

The Good Daughter: A Novel

This book opened with a bang, literally. A family watches their mother murdered and are taken out and shot. This opening was heart wrenching, but it sure did get my attention. And if that wasn’t enough they added next a school shooting. Wow. This was a can’t put down read with a slow point in the middle. The beginning and end pulled me in and kept me up late turning pages. The two sisters, Charlotte and Sam will linger with me awhile as I felt so entrenched in their story. I love books by Slaughter and this one does not disappoint. Great summer read.

The Marriage Pact: A Novel

Soon to be a movie!
Great read. The book was very different. There were some behaviors the characters exhibited – like a lawyer signing a contract without reading it – but I didn’t care! The book for me was gripping and kept me turning the pages. Partially because it was so unbelievable that this could happen I kept going.
In this book we meet Alice, a lawyer and Jake a psychiatrist who are newly married. Alice is afraid the marriage may not stand the test of time so they enter into a marriage pact to keep the relationship exciting. Wow, what a marriage pact the got themselves involved with. The ending really leaves you hanging so perhaps a sequel is in order. I’m not one who wants to make my own ending. I like to tie things up and know for sure what happens, but that’s just me. A definite book to read this summer!

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

Another great read by Debbie Macomber. This book is a story about redemption and starting over. Shay is standing in a church, freshly released from prison with no money, family or plan. One step away from being homeless she is given a chance for recovery. This was a truly warm, fuzzy read as most of Macomber’s books are. Yes there is tragedy and bumps along the way, but you feel better about life at the end. I really can’t explain it, but her books always make me believe in happily ever after and in this crazy world who doesn’t need a little of that.
A perfect escape from life and a great beach read.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

I’ve read most of this author’s books and like her writing style. This book was no exception, as I was quickly pulled into the story of Tess and Henry. Tess was a compelling character and you felt her pain and sense of loss throughout the book. The backdrop of this story was Hickory during the time of the polio outbreak. Some of the story was set in a real life event – the building of the hospital.
Ultimately this story is about life and how the choices we make can have a lasting impact on those we love. I found this to be a quick, easy read, but one that will linger. I would say the only character that had true dimension was Tess and that’s OK because it was her story. I was surprised by the twist at the end as all the foreshadowing led me down a different path. Overall a great summer read from Diane Chamberlain.

There’s bound to be something to your liking in this group.  If you’ve read any, please share your thoughts.  On to August and another pile of books.  Don’t you just love summer reading?

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