It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to share all of the great books I read this month.
I spent the first week of July on vacation. Maybe that means reading time for most of you, but my vacations seem to always be too busy for reading!
Still, after life got back to normal, I had a very busy month. I got to support two of my fellow Aladdin M!x authors...the first is Rachele Alpine, an extraordinarily talented writer who has both the same editor and agent as I do. Her book, Operation Pucker Up, is just as awesome as its name and cover.
First off, I have to say that I was a total drama geek in high school. This book took me back to those days. Even though I never played a main character, I spent many hours at play practice. Rachele has done a great job of capturing that environment. But mostly she manages to perfectly convey the pressure that comes from that first kiss. In this case, the main character knows her first kiss is coming since she's playing Snow White in the middle school production. But she doesn't want her first kiss to be in front of an audience. Her friends came up with the perfect idea: get Grace her first kiss before opening night. This book is so much fun, but it also has a great message about peer pressure and parental issues.
The second book is the young adult debut for fellow Aladdin M!x author Jen Malone. Map to the Stars is part of HarperCollins' Epic Reads Impulse line.
I rarely get to read a good romance these days. Although Map to the Stars is in the young adult romance genre, it reminded me what I miss so much about reading romance. Jen has a knack for capturing young voices, but she also has a true talent for creating the kind of sexual tension that makes you keep reading. On top of that, she's brought her own experience in the entertainment industry to the book, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how things work. Buy this book! You won't be able to put it down, I promise.
I've been meaning to read the next book for a while. I first spotted The 13th Sign on the table at our local SCBWI conference and loved the look. I think it has a Mary Engelbreit look to it...and I love Mary Engelbreit! After listening to Kristin Tubb describe her book at a group booksigning a couple of months ago, I knew I had to read it. This is the beautiful cover:
I don't know anything about the signs of the zodiac, so this book was a much-needed lesson into how all of that works. The story revolves around a young girl named Jalen, who discovers a 13th sign of the zodiac. When she unwittingly frees the 13th sign, she changes the personality of everyone on Earth. She must then go on a quest to restore order. If you love action/adventure, this is the book for you! Plus you'll learn more than you ever thought you could about the signs of the zodiac. I loved this book so much, I read it in just a couple of days.
Next up is T.B. Markinson's The Miracle Girl, which has this mesmerizing cover. After helping T.B. with her book launch earlier this month, I had to read this book for myself. After all, who can resist this cover?
The characters make this book, especially the main character, JJ. T.B. has created a strong, yet flawed character who has successfully battled many demons in her past. The author pulls no punches in making JJ real, showing us a character who has battled substance abuse while also pining for the lost love of her life, Claire. Add in business-related drama at a local newspaper, and you have a read you won't be able to put down!
So now it's your turn. What great books did you read in July?