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10 Must-Read Books Released in July

10 Must-Read Books Released in July

“Don’t you just love the summer?” A friend recently asked me.

“I mean, sure, I guess,” I unenthusiastically replied, not wanting to tell this individual — who I felt should know me better — that summer is, actually, my least favorite season.

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“It’s just the best,” she continued to enthuse — obviously not picking up on social cues. “Hanging out at the beach with friends. Going to cookouts with family. Just generally being out and about among people.”

And that’s where she lost me.

Around people? 

Nah.

Not so much my speed.

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My introverted heart loves nothing more than being alone. 

With a book. 

Fully dissolved into the world built by that author.

While I, admittedly, am not summer’s biggest fan — it’s hot and I’m fluffy, ya’ll — there was one thing I loved this July: all of the fucking amazing new releases.

I had a hard time whittling this list down, but here are the 10 you absolutely shouldn’t skip

Love and Other Mistakes
By Jessica Kate

10. Love and Other Mistakes

by Jessica Kate

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Romance

Natalie Groves has lots of reasons not to want to work for Jeremy.

First, he’s her former flame — which always makes for a messy work environment.

Second, he unceremoniously called off their engagement seven years prior — right before her father was diagnosed with cancer.

And third, their feelings are far from resolved.

But when an internship opens up, offering Natalie the opportunity to finally launch her career, she knows she will need a steady second income while she undertakes the endeavour. And, as luck would have it, working for him is the only ready option.

Perhaps unwisely, she decides to put her feelings aside — or try to at least — and finally move forward with the life she put on hold so many years before.

Clean and classic and simple, this romance provides an easy escape from the rigors of daily life.

Pretty Revenge
By Emily Liebert

9. Pretty Revenge

by Emily Liebert

Release Date - July 2, 2019

Genre - Thriller

Things aren’t exactly going phenomenally for Kerrie O’Malley.

She’s jobless.

In a wholly unfulfilling relationship.

And living off of reality TV and alcohol — okay, that last one doesn’t sound so bad.

Unlike most people who have no one to blame for their lot in life but themselves, Kerrie feels that there is one particular person who is responsible for her failure to thrive: A former neighbor who Kerrie once tried to help.

So, when Kerrie sees this formerly destitute neighbor on TV and discovers that she’s now a successful wedding concierge, living a life that almost anyone would envy, Kerrie decides that it’s finally time to get the revenge she has so long hungered for.

Leaving behind her shitty life in a shitty town, Kerrie moves to New York City and reinvents herself, becoming the polished and perfect Olivia. As Olivia, Kerrie applies to work for her former neighbor, Jordana. 

Once hired, she knows, she’ll be able to set about getting the payback she is so clearly owed from this former acquaintance who derailed her life. 

This twisty fast read will satisfy your thriller craving whether consumed on the beach under the beating sun or while snuggled under a blanket with the air conditioning cranked up.

8. A Stranger on the Beach

by Michele Campbell

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Thriller

Caroline Stark’s life would appear to be one worthy of envy.

The wife of a successful financier, she spends her days attending spin classes, annoying her now college-aged daughter and flitting off to her newly-constructed beach house.

But, as is usually the case, all is not as rosy as it looks from the outside.

On the night of her housewarming, Caroline has a very large, very visible, fight with her husband.

With their marriage seemingly in shambles, she meets Aiden, a local bartender.

At first, Caroline is not disappointed that a simple ride home she drunkenly accepted turned into a night of hungry, wanting sex.

But when morning comes and Aiden appears decidedly more attached than Caroline would have hoped for, she doesn’t know what to do.

Though Aiden’s version of events is decidedly different from the yarn Caroline weaves, Caroline insists that Aiden is obsessed with her. 

Following her. 

Stalking her. 

Insisting that their one-night stand was just the start of a beautiful relationship.

As a hurricane brews, the two stand ready to have their final confrontation. 

Who is telling the truth, and who’s lying? 

And, most importantly, will everyone get out of this unscathed.

Twisty to the point of being almost confusing, this book is inarguably different from your everyday average thriller, making it one that will stick with you. 

How to Hack a Heartbreak
By Kristin Rockaway

7. How to Hack a Heartbreak

by Kristin Rockaway

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Women’s Fiction

Mel Strickland’s life isn’t what you would call fulfilling.

She spends her day helping incompetent men — who have somehow risen to positions of relative power — operate their laptops.

And she spends her evenings going on increasingly painful dates with guys she meets online.

But then, she snaps.

Tired of a bros and playboys who keep harassing women with their genital photography — colloquially called a “dick pic” — she decides to finally put her skills to work.

Under the cloak of anonymity, she develops an app called JerkAlert. The app enables women to finally hold men accountable for their shitty behavior, providing them a mechanism for reporting these romance rule breakers so other women have a heads up.

Unexpectedly, the app takes off. 

While this is good news, it is decidedly overwhelming for Mel. And, to complicate matters further, her explosive new app puts her in an awkward position with Alex Hernandez, a guy she nearly dated who, unlike most of his compatriots, isn’t a dick. 

Faced with a potentially life-changing choice, Mel has to decide both how to move forward and what she is willing to sacrifice for success.

Bright and bubbly and oh-so-relatable, this book screams to be read on a coffee break or extended lunch hour. 

The Two Lila Bennetts
By Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

6. The Two Lila Bennetts

by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Release Date - July 23, 2019

Genre - Thriller

Much like Jeff Goldbloom in The Big Chill, Lila Bennett has always been able to justify her actions. 

As a high-powered attorney, lying — or, at least, stretching the truth — has always been an occupational necessity. So, when her penchant for fibbing spills over into her personal life, and she starts lying to her husband about how she is spending some of her off-the-clock time, she’s able to keep her guilt at bay.

But now, her guilt — and karma, it would appear — have caught up with her.

On the eve of a big victory, she faces a choice: go home to her husband or go out for drinks with Sam, the colleague with whom she has been having an affair for the last six months.

Little does Lila know that this decision is an all-important one. 

Going with Sam won’t just mean compromising her integrity — something at which she has become particularly adept in recent months — but also giving up her freedom, as there is someone lurking in the night, waiting to kidnap her.

If she goes home to her husband, she’ll remain free — for now, at least.

With both parallel narratives unfolding in alternating chapters, you’ll find this distinctive thriller particularly unputdownable.

Someone We Know: A Novel
By Shari Lapena

5. Someone We Know

by Shari Lapena

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Thriller

To drive through Olivia’s upscale upstate New York neighborhood, you would think that it’s relatively ordinary.

Happy people live in beautiful houses. 

They drive their leased cars.

Children dutifully pile on the bus to go to school and study to one day be the same kind of productive, boring citizens their parents are.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

And Olivia learns that the hard way when she discovers that her son, Raleigh, hasn’t been honest with her.

Instead of hanging out with his friends in the evenings, he’s been breaking into people’s houses and going through their computers.

She’s immediately mortified by her son’s behavior and eager to make amends.

But then a woman from the neighborhood goes missing.

Though the woman’s husband reported the disappearance as soon as he discovered it — at the end of a long weekend that she was supposedly spending in the city with a friend — he becomes the obvious suspect.

Now all that seemed right is wrong. 

All that seemed certain is unsure.

Suddenly, it becomes immediately clear that things in this neighborhood aren’t as sleepy as they seemed.

This book is as clean, surprising and well-paced as all of Lapena’s prior works making it worthy of a spot on your TBR. 

4. Come Back For Me

by Heidi Perks

Release Date - July 11, 2019 (UK)

Genre - Thriller

Stella was born and — for the majority of her childhood — raised on the secluded British island of Evergreen. 

But then, on a rainy night that was hardly ideal for sea travel, her family left the island, never to return.

Though she’s told that they moved back to the mainland so her father could take a new job, even as a child she knows this isn’t true. But with her parents unwilling to invite discussion of the topic, Stella doubts she’ll ever know the true reason for their departure.

So the mysterious island lingers, for decades, in her subconscious.

Now, 25-years later, her former home is thrust into the forefront of her mind when she learns that a body has been discovered, buried just beyond the boundaries of her family’s property.

This discovery seems to Stella to prove that there was a more sinister reason for her departure from the island on that dreary night so many years ago. Suddenly, Stella is no longer willing to wrestle with uncertainty. 

Determined to discover the truth, she returns to the island, set on unearthing the truth once and for all.

You’ll fall in love with Evergreen, the island that is equal parts mysterious and idyllic, as you devour this lengthy read chapter by delicious chapter. 

The Escape Room: A Novel
By Megan Goldin

3. The Escape Room

by Megan Goldin

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Thriller

Successful financiers Vincent, Jules, Sam and Sylvie are accustomed to being in control of the situation.

Employees of a high-power finance firm in New York City, they have each long been earning the kind of money that many only dream of.

And, though money can’t buy happiness, it can buy power — or at least the illusion of it.

So when this group of co-workers is called to a meeting only to find that the “meeting” in question is a team-building escape room exercise, they are less than thrilled — and, certainly, emotionally unprepared.

But then what started as a simple escape room from which they assumed they would eventually be released — regardless of whether or not they were successful — continues to increase in intensity. 

Quickly it becomes clear that this isn’t a benign team-building experience but, instead, something decidedly more sinister.

Though you might think the world of finance is all boring number crunching and pocket-protectors, that isn’t the case here. Goldin builds a world that is as sexy as it is scary and produces a mile-a-minute thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.  

2. The Stories You Tell

by Kristen Lepionka

Release Date - July 9, 2019

Genre - PI Mystery

Though she should be engaging in a postcoital snuggle with her girlfriend, Roxane Weary is characteristically restless. 

Then her phone rings. On the other end is her brother, Andrew, seeking her help. 

From the tone in his voice and the content of his story, Roxane knows the situation is serious.

 Andrew tells her that a former fling, Addison, showed up unexpectedly at his door. And she wasn’t just there for a booty call. 

He could tell immediately that something was amiss. 

She was shaky. 

Scared. 

Scattered. 

And then, just as suddenly as she came, she ran off into the night. Now he doesn’t know where she is or even if she is okay.

Roxane agrees to investigate this situation, hoping the search will be a short and simple one. 

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t prove to be the case.

As the days pass and Addison remains missing, Roxane begins to worry that something serious and irrevocable has happened to her.

And when suspicion turns to the last person to admit seeing her alive — Roxane’s brother, Andrew — the urgency to find answers mounts.  

With an unforgettable lead character whose wry, sarcastic wit is as finely tuned as her investigative techniques, this book — the third featuring this protagonist — is one you’ll remember. 

The Arrangement
By Robyn Harding

1. The Arrangement

by Robyn Harding

Release Date - July 30, 2019

Genre - Thriller

Living in New York City always seemed like a dream to Natalie, the product of a broken marriage who spent her youth in the comparatively quiet Pacific Northwest. 

But things aren’t always as they seem.

When Natalie moves to New York City she finds that the city lights don’t quite shine as brightly when you’re an art student, struggling to keep a roof over your head and eat a meal that doesn’t consist of ramen.

But, just when it feels like all hope is lost and her only option is to scurry home with her proverbial tail between her legs, Natalie learns of a new way to make money.

Becoming a sugar baby.

While she initially scoffs at the idea of going out with men in return for her rent check, her friend — who is already deep into the sugar bowl, as it is called — assures her that it’s not quite as much like full-on prostitution as it seems.

Reluctantly, and desperately, Natalie gives it a try.

When she meets Gabe, a handsome, successful, kind older man, it seems that she has hit the jackpot.

Unfortunately though, what initially seems to be the perfect arrangement proves to be anything but.

With an immediately engaging topic and beautifully paced action, this thriller stands out from the crowd and deserves a place high up on your TBR. 

"Someone We Know" by Shari Lapena

"Someone We Know" by Shari Lapena

"The Arrangement" by Robyn Harding

"The Arrangement" by Robyn Harding