Friday, July 31, 2015

Best Books of July

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?

51 comments:

  1. TB will be very happy with that review.
    Rachele and you must also share the same cover artist.
    I'm reading blogger buddy books right now, which means one wild mix of genres.

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    1. I had two different cover artists so I'm not sure, but it seems to look most similar to 30 Days? That artist rounds the faces out a little more. My next cover was designed by a completely different designer! I've loved them all.

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  2. Great and interesting titles. For the month, I've read mostly Jefferey Archer titles. So far so good. Greetings!

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    1. I haven't read any of his but Audible just recommended a book called "You" that I'm going to have to check out. They have me intrigued.

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  3. I'm reading all of Lianne Moriarty's books.

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    1. I love, love, LOVE Lianne Moriarty. Big Little Lies was my favorite.

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    2. Okay, now I'm going to have to look this one up!

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    3. That's my favorite so far (only read three to date).

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  4. Map to the Stars and Operation Pucker Up must go on my list. For the first book, I love reading about the entertainment industry, and for the second-- well, my first kiss took place during an audition for a play. Ach! Can't wait to read.

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    1. You will totally relate! to OPU. I related to the stress surrounding that first kiss. WAY too much pressure. Jen took you behind the scenes of those press interviews stars do before a movie comes out. It was very enlightening. I love books set in the entertainment industry but so many of them seem unrealistic. This was extremely believable!

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  5. the 13th sign sounds intriguing to me. :)

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  6. Reading all these books will keep you forever young Stephanie. I read maybe about 5 pages in a spiritual book by Henri Nouwen this month. It's been a very busy month and never seem to be able to have enough time to read or hook rugs.

    The authors will be grateful for the great reviews.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Good point. I read/write about children almost exclusively...why don't I feel younger?! I know what you mean--there just aren't enough hours in the day.

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  7. Got a few blogger buddies books on the go at my sea, as the pile sure can stack up.

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    1. If I read four in a month, that probably means 10 were added to my to-read pile!

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  8. Wow. Thanks so much for the wonderful review. I adore the cover and title of Operation Pucker Up! And I'm like you, when I'm on holiday, I never find the time to read. I keep saying I need a beach holiday to read, but I know I would just fall asleep in the sun. I wouldn't complain about that, though. Thanks again and have a lovely weekend.

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    1. You, too! Thanks for entertaining me with the great book!

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  9. These all sound great. Thanks for the reviews.

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  10. The Miracle Girl looks interesting; I'll have to look it up. I finished Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomason recently; it was hard to put down; a very good book.

    betty

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    1. I've never heard of that one. I'll have to check it out!

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  11. need to read Map to the Stars! sounds amazing. I just finished "P.S. I Still Love You," the second book in Jenny Hans "To All the Boys I Loved Before.." LOVE her books to death.

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    1. You'd LOVE Map to the Stars!!! Having worked in the entertainment industry yourself, you'll totally relate to a lot of it.

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  12. These look like good read! So happy you had some great ones this month, that is always so nice. :D Have a wonderful weekend and first of August Stephanie! :D

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    1. Thank you. Hope you have a great weekend, too!

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  13. The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker was my favorite read this month. A futuristic look at the world gone bad. It was a fabulous read.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. Sounds interesting! I love futuristic stories.

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  14. I feel like such a dunce:) I have read my Archeology magazines and I am reading Peter Bogdonavich's book, "Who the Hell's In It" The 13th sign looks very intriguing as I love horoscopes (I am a Gemini-aka-Nut!). I also have to say I love the cover of the book-"The Miracle Girl". I want to look into this book because of that cover-a strong female yet sensitive. I applaud all you have read so far!

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    1. I'm a Virgo...I use it to explain why I have a system for everything, but I'm not all that organized! Decorating this new house has shown me that. I felt lost when trying to set up a system for where everything should go!

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  15. Ok I have to read the 13th Sign!
    I just read The Luckiest Girl Ever. Amazing book.

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    1. I like the title of that one. It sounds interesting!

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  16. I want to read them all! I haven't been reading much in July. I am enjoying Layton Greene's The Shadow Cartel a lot, but I haven't had much reading time to finish it up. I do plan to read A.A. Chamberlynn's Black Magic and Mojitos this weekend, though.

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    1. July seems like a crazy month, doesn't it? Winter is coming--bringing with it plenty of excuses to stay inside and read!

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  17. All of your suggestions sound wonderful. I'm glad there are so many more books to entice younger readers.

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    1. My theory is that young readers still tend to read paper books. Adult readers stick with their Kindles and you get so many free/inexpensive books, plus there's just so much competition with indie and self-publishers in that realm. But kids are still going to the library or bookstore, where their parents let them pick out a book! Publishers know that and focus their efforts there.

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  18. Operation Pucker Up looks adorable and I'm intrigued by The Miracle Girl. All this month, and it looks like the vibe will continue, I've focused on suspense novels and thrillers. I read Child 44, then went crazy gathering up all Tom Rob Smith has written. I also read The Liar by Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and Jame Rollins. By September I plan to be back in romance mode. Happy Friday! Hugs...

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    1. I used to LOVE Sandra Brown. I met her once and told her she inspired me to keep writing even through rejections. She was a little uncomfortable around crowds of people heaping praise on her, it seemed, but very sweet... You have to respect a humble best-selling author!

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  19. Great post. I enjoyed a lot checking out this beautiful coverage of piece! Thanks for stopping by. Keep sharing such a great posts.

    personal statement writing service

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  20. I've only read T.B.'s book, but the others look wonderful. Those covers are calling out to me. Have a great weekend.

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  21. More booky temptation.
    At the moment I am reading a memori about twins who were separated at birth and reunited over thirty years later. Separated for a pyschological study. Neither they nor the adoptive parents were told they were twins...

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  22. I just posted about three of the five books I've read over the past month--our reading is different

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  23. You have read some great books Stephanie. I loved the sound of all the books.

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  24. I just finished Viper Wine; it wasn't bad, but I wasn't crazy about the language. The author tried very hard to capture the period and it was interesting historical fiction with a touch of weird.

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  25. isn't there a movie MAPS TO THE STARS? A recent one?
    Haven't read anything since I'm working all day long translating RED QUEEN.

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  26. My reading has been an equal mix of fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, I've been reading mostly Walter Mosley, who writes very good mysteries/thrillers. Non-fiction has been a mostly a bust this month. While I read some very good memoirs from the founding members of The Lovin' Spoonful and Sonic Youth, the rest have been mostly a bust (like Robert Crane Jr.'s auto bio/bio about his dad, actor Bob Crane) and somewhat unmemorable.

    The toughest one to read, and one that I didn't not finish, was the annotated auto-bio of Laura Ingalls Wilder (ye of Little House on The Prairie). Seriously intense and mind-boggling to say the least. A little tidbit for you: most of her entire book career (she was a newspaper columnist for a couple of decades) was spent writing YA novels.

    Father Nature's Corner

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  27. This looks like a nice mix-up of titles. I always love reading about books I haven't heard about yet!

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  28. I'm just getting back into reading after breaking my arm almost 2 months ago. But one of the best books I read last month was Hades by Larissa Ione.

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  29. Sounds like some good books. Of course, I can't remember the titles of what I read. One of the problems with an ereader. Or perhaps I just blank it out for some reason.

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  30. A nice variety of reads. They all sound good.

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  31. i have given a gift to granddaughter she got so happy by reading "Operation Pucker Up" nice variety thanks for sharing :) ergodebooks.com

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