What to Read: Can’t-Miss July Books

What to Read: Can’t-Miss July Books LEAD
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Some great books for your July reading pleasure:

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch

Perfect novel for those of us who can’t look away from politics today!

Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral.

With seven words- “Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.

Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor…and the regret too big to even say out loud.

But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most—one regret at a time.

A Good Family by A.H. Kim

Keep your family close and your enemies closer. An outstanding debut novel.

Beth is the darling of God Halsa, a pharmaceutical giant, and she’s got the outrageous salary and lifestyle to prove it. Until she lands in white-collar women’s prison, thanks to a high-profile whistleblower suit.

Sam, Beth’s husband, used to be the town’s most eligible bachelor, and he’s never had to do anything for himself. Until his wife goes to jail, and he’s left to raise two daughters on his own.

Lise, the au pair, is the whistleblower. But is she? Everyone knows she’s not clever enough to have done it alone.

Hannah, Sam’s sister, is devoted to her family. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for them.

Eva, Beth’s sister, is the smart one. (Read: not the pretty one.) Her life seems perfect on the surface, but sibling rivalry runs deep.

Martin, Beth’s brother, is the firstborn, the former golden boy turned inside-the Beltway businessman. But what is he hiding? 

Someone knows something. Someone betrayed Beth.

A Star is Bored by Byron Lane

When a book is described as “The Devil Wears Prada meets Postcards From the Edge in a hilariously heartfelt novel influenced in part by the author’s time assisting Carrie Fisher”, how can we not LOVE it!

Charlie Besson is tense and sweating as he prepares for an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and Peoplemagazine’s worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, and an award-winning actress, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in a blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known in another role: crazy. Admittedly so. Famously so. Fabulously so, as Charlie quickly discovers. 

Their three-year odyssey is filled with late night shopping sprees, last minute trips to see the aurora borealis, and an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, and as their friendship grows, Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, and searingly poignant, Byron Lane’s A Star is Bored is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting and joyous, heartbreaking and hopeful.

The Heir Affair by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks

The Royal We Book #2

I have pined for this book since reading The Royal We in 2015. And it was so worth waiting for. God Save The Queen!

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne. 

Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she’s had to give up for true love… and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

Amy Poeppel again shows us how to find joy in even life’s messy moments. Loved every page!

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale

Lonsdale again takes us on quite a ride through love, loss and life. Her groupie following will devour this one!

With her deceased sister’s Route 66 bucket list in hand, California girl Joy Evers sets out on a cross-country road trip to meet up with her fiancé, checking off the bullets along the way.

Singer-songwriter Dylan Westfield has a serious case of wanderlust and a broken-down car. Stuck at a diner between LA and Flagstaff, he meets Joy, his complete opposite. She’s energetic. He’s moody. She’s by the book. He’s spontaneous. She believes in love at first sight. He thinks love is a complicated mess. But Joy has a brand-new convertible.

They strike a deal. She’ll drive him to New York. He’ll pay for gas. Only three rules apply: no exchanging of last names; what happens on the road, stays on the road; and if one of them wants to take a side trip, they both must agree.

A heart-stirring love story that spans a decade, Side Trip explores what-if. What if Joy and Dylan had exchanged last names? What if he’d told her she made him believe love was worth the risk? And what if they hadn’t made that second deal when they couldn’t say goodbye?

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

A thriller with estranged sisters and secrets best kept in the past.  Yes please!

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk. 

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door, Alex’s perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Still, Alex will help Ruth under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when a local child goes missing, both women are forced to confront the secrets they’ve promised to keep buried.

Utterly engrossing and claustrophobic, Hurry Home is a tantalizing reflection of the chain-and-shackles relationship between sisters that asks: what lines wouldn’t you cross for your own?

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Another crazy outstanding thriller from Downing

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Amazing historical fiction. I loved every page!

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

Someone Else’s Secret by Julia Spiro

Secrets and angst make this unputdownable!

2009. Lindsey and Georgie have high hopes for their summer on Martha’s Vineyard. In the wake of the recession, ambitious college graduate Lindsey accepts a job as a nanny for an influential family who may help her land a position in Boston’s exclusive art world. Georgie, the eldest child in that family, is nearly fifteen and eager to find herself, dreaming of independence and yearning for first love.

Over the course of that formative summer, the two young women develop a close bond. Then, one night by the lighthouse, a shocking act occurs that ensnares them both in the throes of a terrible secret. Their budding friendship is shattered, and neither one can speak of what happened that night for ten long years.

Until now. Lindsey and Georgie must confront the past after all this time. Their quest for justice will require costly sacrifices, but it also might give them the closure they need to move on. All they know for sure is that when the truth is revealed, their lives will be forever changed once again.

From a fresh voice in fiction, this poignant and timely novel explores the strength and nuance of female friendship, the cost of ambition, and the courage it takes to speak the truth.

Also check out Andrea’s Summer List here.

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