My Recommended Reads for July

As a writer I’m also (naturally) an avid reader. I keep track of my reading history over at Goodreads. I used to use Shelfari (and I still try to keep it up to date), but it didn’t seem to have the same ability as GR to share my reading log with others via places like Facebook and Twitter, so I switched.

Why is sharing important? Because I’m often asked what good books I’ve read lately, and I love to tell people when when I find a great book! Sharing the love, so to speak. So, you can go to GR and see my list, but I also thought it might be helpful to periodically (maybe once a month?) post a short list of some really great books I’ve read recently. Maybe they’ll become one of your favorites, too.

(Note: not all of these books are new releases. In fact, most probably aren’t. My to-be-read pile of books is so HUGE that I’m often reading books that came out years ago simply because it’s taken me that long to get to them. Just because something’s not a recent release, though, doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. One of my most favorite books I just read was released back in 2008! I hadn’t even heard about it until this year. Go figure. 🙂

I should also mention that although I really love mystery and suspense, I read across many genres, including children’s books that my son recommends to me, so there’s a little bit for everyone on my July Recommended Reading list:

Young Adult/Sci-Fi

Gone by Michael Grant Book CoverGone by Michael Grant

I loved this entire series. I only found out about it this year when I received an email promo for the last book in the series.

The premise immediately hooked me and I read all six books in a very short period of time. Couldn’t put them down!

So it probably was fortuitous that I hadn’t heard of the book before now because I loved not having to wait for the next book in the series to come out to see what happened next. Now you can have the same experience. Read books 1-6 back-to-back. You won’t be disappointed!

Young Adult/Historical Paranormal Mystery

Haunting Violet Book CoverHaunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

I love ghost stories and I love historical settings, so this book was a wonderful mixture of both.

It was also a great murder mystery, and I’m always a sucker for a story with a secret to uncover.

The story had an interesting cast of characters and lots of suspects to choose from. Kept me guessing to the very end.


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead Book CoverWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I bought this for my son because the premise sounded interesting. He read it first and loved it so much he insisted I read it. So I did. And I loved it too!!!

The main character’s voice is so engaging, it drew me right in and I had a very hard time putting it down.

It’s also set in the 1970’s so as an adult, I felt a connection based on memories from my own childhood.

Contemporary Romance

When Lightning Strikes Book CoverWhen Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak is one of those “auto-buy” authors for me. Although I prefer her romantic suspense novels above all else, I’ve never been disappointed in any of her books. This is no exception.

When Lightning Strikes has likeable characters, an interesting dilemma for the hero and heroine to face and an adorable small town atmosphere.

It’s the first book in a new series and I believe Books 2 and 3 are out now or coming soon. I have Book 2 in my ever-expanding TBR pile, but I’m sure when I get to it, I’ll love it too.

The Groom Wanted Seconds Book CoverThe Groom Wanted Seconds by Shirley Jump (Novella)

This is a novella by another of my “auto-buy” authors. Shirley Jump writes stories with the most adorable characters. I can’t think of any of her books where I didn’t like the hero or the heroine.

All the books in the Sweet & Savory series are indeed sweet, but they’re also fun and the stories are so heartfelt.

Shirley’s my go-to when I’m looking for a feel-good sweet romance.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one of the best parts! The recipes. OMG. So yummy, and so simple too! I love reading the recipes because they’re always from one of the character’s point-of-view and tie right into the story.

Historical Romance

Ambersley by Amy Atwell Book CoverAmbersley by Amy Atwell

I love historical romance novels. What made Ambersley stand out to me was the epic saga aspect of it. The story covers many years as the heroine grows from a baby into an adult. It reminded me of some of the sweeping romances I enjoyed as a teen from my mother’s shelf in the 1970’s.

Most romance novels today tend to focus on a much shorter period of time, so this was a refreshing change. And of course, the characters are all very interesting and the family dynamics keep the pages turning. I hope the author is working on a sequel because I would love to read a story about Lord Worthing (St. John Trevarthan).