We’re somehow a few days away from being halfway through July…how?! One day I’m going to post my TMR stack in the beginning of the month, but this isn’t that month.
For July I picked a lot of horror, YA, and thrillers. I’ve also got a bit of fantasy, true crime, and science fiction thrown in there because a girl needs options!
So far I’ve been successful in finishing one novel and a cozy mystery. I’m also in the middle of four books…yep you heard me, four. I’m currently making my way through CEMETERY BOYS, ROSE MADDER, SILVER TEARS, and the second half of A FEAST FOR CROWS.
What book are you most excited to read in July?
ROSE MADDER by Stephen King: After surviving fourteen years of hell in a violently abusive marriage, Rosie Daniels has finally summoned the courage to flee for her life. But leaving her husband Norman for a new city and a new start is a very daunting prospect. It’s hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder, and with good reason—Norman’s a police officer with the instincts of a predator, a force of relentless terror and savagery…a man almost mythic in his monstrosity.
He’s very good at finding people, even if he is losing his mind. Rosie’s only hope for salvation may lie in a far more dangerous place, where she must become her own myth and the woman she never knew she could be.
A FEAST FOR CROWS (A Song of Ice & Fire #4) by George R.R. Martin: It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears. . . . With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King’s Landing. Robb Stark’s demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist—or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.
But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.
It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
IT TAKES TWO TO MANGO (Trouble in Paradise! #1) by Carrie Doyle: It’s all fun in the sun until someone turns up dead
After Plum Lockhart’s job as a travel magazine editor is eliminated in corporate cuts, she decides she’s sick of cold winters in NYC and fruitless swiping on dating apps—what she needs is a dramatic change of scenery. On a whim, she accepts a job as a villa broker and moves to a beautiful Caribbean island.
However, paradise isn’t as perfect as it seems: the slow pace of island life, the language barrier, and a cutthroat office rival make Plum question leaving her old life behind. But when a client is found dead in the jacuzzi of Casa Mango—a property Plum manages—she knows she’s really in a jam. With a killer loose on the island Plum will have to deal with a stonewalling police chief, a string of baffling clues, and a handsome Director of Security to solve this deadly case!
SILVER TEARS (Faye #2) by Camilla Läckberg: She’s had to fight for it every step of the way, but Faye finally has the life she believes she deserves: she is rich, the business she built has become a global brand, and she has carefully hidden away her small family in Italy, where Jack, her ex-husband, can no longer harm them. She even has the wherewithal to occasionally turn a business trip to Rome into a steamy tryst. But when several major investors–women Faye had trusted implicitly–suddenly sell off their shares in the company, and the police officer who helped search for her daughter discovers the dark secret of Faye’s childhood, and she learns that Jack is no longer locked behind bars, Faye has no choice but to return to Stockholm. Not only does she have to fight again to keep her family safe, but now, at long last, she is forced to face the truth about her past. In this bold, mesmerizing story of seduction, deceit, and female power, a woman’s secret cannot stay buried forever.
CALL OF THE VOID (Reality Bleed #2) by J.Z. Foster & Justin M. Woodward: The Nightmare is just beginning.
The crew of the Perihelion’s mission has become clear.
Locate and retrieve the brilliant scientist, Will Braun.
They’ll enter back onto the station—this time equipped with Combat Armor Gear—fighting hordes of mysterious creatures, to locate Will Braun, the man responsible for everything… if he’s even still alive.
This book is available to buy from: Amazon
CRASH, BURN, DIE (Reality Bleed #3) by J.Z. Foster & Justin M. Woodward: They crawl inside you and take your body.
Split up and wounded, the crew of the Perihelion is still fighting for their survival. The mysterious Will Braun is a man of dark secrets, some of which he only now chooses to reveal.
With the whole station threatening critical failure, will the crew have what it takes to face down the alien creatures?
This book is available to buy from: Amazon
THE TAKING OF JAKE LIVINGSTON by Ryan Douglass: Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win
THE SAFE PLACE by Anna Downes: Emily is a mess.
Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.
Emily is desperate.
Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.
Emily is perfect.
Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.
Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downs’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.
Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?
MORNING STAR (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown: Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.
Finally, the time has come.
But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.
PARADISE CLUB by Tim Meyer: Welcome to Paradise. Sandy beaches. Crystalline waters. An all-inclusive resort with virtually everything you can think of. A true idyllic paradise.
An event is taking place at Paradise Club that wasn’t on the brochure: a dangerous game pitting the hotel’s guests against a gang of bloodthirsty maniacs. Elliot Harper – family man and FBI agent – is about to find out how fast heaven can become hell when every single vacationer is forced to become a ruthless killer in order to survive. A team of killers have been unleashed, and they won’t stop until every single guest is dead.
Let the mayhem begin…
This book is available to buy from: Amazon
FAT CAMP by James Sabata: Since 1985, over 500 overweight teenagers have come to Camp Wašíču, looking to lose weight, gain self-confidence, and turn their lives around. Phillip McCracken arrives, weighing in at almost 400 pounds; but the baggage he carries from the past affects him much more deeply than the numbers of the scale. When a homicidal maniac hell-bent on revenge attacks, Phillip will be forced to either find the courage to save the people around him or fall victim to his own self-doubt…
…and possibly a machete.
Filled with allusions to the Slasher films of yesteryear, Fat Camp delivers horror, humor, and a little slice of nostalgia for anyone who grew up even slightly afraid of the dark.
This book is available to buy from: Amazon
EDGE OF DARK WATER by Joe R. Lansdale: May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she’s dead, her body dredged up from the Sabine River.
Sue Ellen, May Lynn’s strong-willed teenage friend, sets out to dig up May Lynn’s body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood to spread around. If May Lynn can’t become a star, then at least her ashes will end up in the land of her dreams.
Along with her friends Terry and Jinx and her alcoholic mother, Sue Ellen steals a raft and heads downriver to carry May Lynn’s remains to Hollywood.
Only problem is, Sue Ellen has some stolen money that her enemies will do anything to get back. And what looks like a prime opportunity to escape from a worthless life will instead lead to disastrous consequences. In the end, Sue Ellen will learn a harsh lesson on just how hard growing up can really be.
GODDESS OF FILTH by V. Castro: One hot summer night, best friends Lourdes, Fernanda, Ana, Perla, and Pauline hold a séance. It’s all fun and games at first, but their tipsy laughter turns to terror when the flames burn straight through their prayer candles and Fernanda starts crawling toward her friends and chanting in Nahuatl, the language of their Aztec ancestors.
Over the next few weeks, shy, modest Fernanda starts acting strangely—smearing herself in black makeup, shredding her hands on rose thorns, sucking sin out of the mouths of the guilty. The local priest is convinced it’s a demon, but Lourdes begins to suspect it’s something else—something far more ancient and powerful.
As Father Moreno’s obsession with Fernanda grows, Lourdes enlists the help of her “bruja Craft crew” and a professor, Dr. Camacho, to understand what is happening to her friend in this unholy tale of possession-gone-right.
IF YOU TELL by Gregg Olsen: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood
After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.
For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.
THE HUNTING WIVES by May Cobb: The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.
MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.
Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT by Kelly deVos: Shaun of the Dead meets Dumplin’ in this bitingly funny YA thriller about a kickass group of teens battling a ravenous group of zombies.
In the next few hours, one of three things will happen.
1–We’ll be rescued (unlikely)
2–We’ll freeze to death (maybe)
3–We’ll be eaten by thin and athletic zombies (odds: excellent)
Vivian Ellenshaw is fat, but she knows she doesn’t need to lose weight, so she’s none too happy to find herself forced into a weight-loss camp’s van with her ex-best friend, Allie, a meathead jock who can barely drive, and the camp owner’s snobby son. And when they arrive at Camp Featherlite at the start of the worst blizzard in the history of Flagstaff, Arizona, it’s clear that something isn’t right.
Vee barely has a chance to meet the other members of her pod, all who seem as unhappy to be at Featherlite as she does, when a camper goes missing down by the lake. Then she spots something horrifying outside in the snow. Something…that isn’t human. Plus, the camp’s supposed “miracle cure” for obesity just seems fishy, and Vee and her fellow campers know they don’t need to be cured. Of anything.
Even worse, it’s not long before Camp Featherlite’s luxurious bungalows are totally overrun with zombies. What starts out as a mission to unravel the camp’s secrets turns into a desperate fight for survival–and not all of the Featherlite campers will make it out alive.
A satirical blend of horror, body positivity, and humor, Kelly deVos’s witty, biting novel proves that everyone deserves to feel validated, and taking down the evil enterprise determined to dehumanize you is a good place to start.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Poisoned Pen Press, Penguin Teen, Minotaur Books and Random House for sending me free copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.