I honestly really struggled to find books to add to the list this month. It seems that publishing tends to cool down during the heat of the summer, since people tend to stock up on books in the beginning and then not shop as much when they could be outside enjoying the good weather. Because of that, the list is a little shorter than normal, but I only wanted to share the most high quality recommendations with you all.

Acts of Violet (July 5th)

by Margarita Montimore

I love the idea of magical realism, especially in the context of a mystery/thriller. This book looks like the perfect combination of both, and I could not be more excited to read it. It looks like an ideal summer read for people who like any type of fantasy novels. Plus, this cover is super cute and purple!

Goodreads Summary: From Margarita Montimore, the author of GMA Book Club pick and national bestseller Oona Out of Order, Acts of Violet is a dazzling and twisty new novel about a famous magician who disappears, leaving her sister to figure out what really happened.

Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public hasn’t wavered. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha, ever the responsible one, took over their mother’s salon and built a quiet life for her daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, determined to finally get his big break hosting a podcast devoted to all things Violet—though keeping his job hinges on an exclusive interview with Sasha, the last person who wants to talk to him.

As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.

Alternating between Sasha’s narration and Cameron’s podcast transcripts, interspersed with documents that offer a tantalizing peek at Violet herself, Acts of Violet is an utterly original, propulsive story of fame, deception, and forgiveness that will make you believe in magic.

The It Girl (July 12th)

by Ruth Ware

Ware wrote The Woman In Cabin 10, a book which I greatly adored. I thought it was a well written mystery and I am hoping that this one lives up to the same standard. It looks like a pretty classic “a decade later” psychological thriller where there’s time hops and mysteries in the past and the present, but I’m admittedly a sucker for those, so I will be reading this.

Goodreads Summary: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder.

April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

Wake The Bones (July 12th)

by Elizabeth Kilcoyne

This one goes out to the new adult crowd which I am desperately attempting to curate. Of course, given that YA doesn’t exist, this is listed as a YA novel, but the main character is a college aged girl attempting to come into her own magical powers and unravel her family’s legacy. To me, that sounds very new adult, and I am excited to read it.

Goodreads Summary: The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.

After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed. 

The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays (July 12th)

by CJ Hauser

Apparently The Crane Wife was an extraordinarily popular essay which Hauser wrote, and she is now using the same title in order to write a series of essays that ultimately become a memoir. I think the idea is pretty interesting, and I assume that The Crane Wife will be in the essay compilation. In general, I find essay series’ to be more captivating than straight up memoirs, so I am looking forward to reading this one.

Goodreads Summary: CJ Hauser expands on her viral essay sensation, “The Crane Wife,” in a brilliant collection of essays that echo the work of Cheryl Strayed in their revelatory observations of romantic love.
CJ Hauser uses her now-beloved title essay as an anchor around which to explore, through excavation of both her own personal and larger familial hope chest of ‘love stories, ‘ the narratives of romantic love we are taught and which we tell ourselves, and the need to often rewrite those narratives to find an accurate version of ourselves in them. Covering ground ranging from her and her relatives’ own romantic pasts to the much wider natural, supernatural, and cultural worlds, CJ relates the family legacies and lessons she imbibed in her youth, and the relationships formed in echo of those lessons, which helped to shape her early understanding of love and life.
Emerging from the rigorous honesty and radical empathy of these twenty pieces, CJ relinquishes the idea of a single, permanent love story–in favor of the metaphor of a happy haunted house as a space that contains many stories, many pasts, and multiple histories. These are hopeful pieces, which address the pain and complication of living in the present while being informed by things that have happened in one’s past, and the kind of energy and spirit necessary to attempt love, again and again. 

Just Like Home (July 19th)

by Sarah Gailey

This looks like an extraordinarily creepy horror book in all of the best ways. Vera goes back home and lives in a possibly haunted house where a creepy artist is living. It sounds like it’s going to be a slow burn with creepy undertones throughout, which is exactly what I like. It’s tagged “paranormal”, which is not my general genre, but this book looks good enough that I might read it anyways.

Goodreads Summary: “Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau (July 19th)

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, but in nineteenth-century Mexico, written by the same author as Mexican Gothic. That’s a book that I’ve heard SO much about, all of it positive, and I can’t wait to read it. I’m sure that this book is going to be just as well written. It’s a historical sci-fi novel, which is an interesting and innovative combination that’s sure to make the book stand out.

Goodreads Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.